Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Twelve Days of Insurance

     So every year, some website or another does a long post about what all of the gifts from the “Twelve Days of Christmas” would actually cost. Old hat. This year, I’m going to tell you how to cover yourself properly, should you have such a generous true love.


1. On the first day… a partridge in a pear tree.  If your true love gives you a tree, relax. If a winter storm comes along and blows down your new pear tree, it would be covered on your homeowner’s insurance for up to $500. No need to call and adjust your coverage, as this is pretty much a standard for most home policies.

2. On the second day – Two Turtledoves.  Since they have been given to you, the turtledoves are now officially your “pets”. Damage to your home caused by your own pets is not covered on a home insurance policy. I’m sure it’s not the information you wanted to hear, but if you choose to keep an animal, the insurance company is not responsible for any damage they may cause.

3. Third day… Three French Hens. If you have hens, then congratulations – you are now what is considered a “gentleman farmer.” As long as you aren’t making a living selling your hen’s eggs (and who would want eggs that taste like smoke and escargots?) you can add an endorsement to your home policy that would cover you for incidental farming. Your hen house could be covered, your tools, and even “animal collision”, so if one of your hens goes in search of a boulangerie and gets hit by a car because he is in a wine induced haze, your insurance would pay to replace him.  However, I wouldn’t rush to make that claim, because your “true love” has lots more birds in store.

4. On the fourth day… Four Calling Birds. I’m thinking that those calling birds are calling other birds, since they have finally found a “forever home”. The initial four are once again, your pets. On the other hand, all of the wild birds they are calling are not pets, so any damage they do to your home would be covered on your home policy.  Most home policies do indeed cover damage done by wild animals, so you would be just fine.

5. On the fifth day… Five Golden Rings. Finally, something worthwhile. While birds and trees are great, jewelry is really the gift that most are looking for this time of year. When you get jewelry, you need to schedule it on your homeowner’s policy. Scheduling jewelry establishes value and covers for breakage and mysterious dissppearance as well. Home policies do cover jewlery without scheduling, but it is a limited amount of coverage, and it is subject to the home deductible.

6. On the sixth day … Six Geese a Laying. First, never date someone that works at an aviary. Second, with six more birds laying eggs, you need to go ahead and get a farm and ranch policy. A normal home policy won’t cover a person that produces food for sale, and with 9 birds laying eggs, you are going to have to sell some eggs, if only to pay for their feed. If you are selling, you are now officially a farmer in the insurance company’s eyes.

7. On the seventh day… Seven Swans a Swimming. So your true love obviously knows birds, and wants to decorate your pool with some swimming swans. Great. Let me paint a picture – despite your house full of pinfeathers and eggs everywhere, you still manage to convince your friends to come over and swim, and since you have seven swans that live in the pool, there is going to be a swan poop problem. Your friends are running around the pool, trying to have fun while avoiding the surprisingly angry swans chasing them around, and someone slips, falls in the pool and hurts themselves. This is where your pool liability coverage on your home policy comes in, to protect you from being sued by your idiot friends who are running around the pool.

8. On the eighth day… Eight Maids a Milking. What goes better with scrambled eggs better than fresh milk? Not much. So now you have at minimum two cows out back near the pool, with eight maids to milk them (one for each teat). You now also have some live in domestic employees, and you once again need to call your insurance agent and ensure that you have coverage for “inservants” – which provides workers comp for your live in maids.

9. On the ninth day… Nine Ladies Dancing. I know that before I intimated that your true love worked at a pet store, but now I’m starting to suspect that a more accurate description would be smuggler of  both humans and birds.  Nonetheless, with all those ladies dancing, someone is going to twist an ankle. Thankfully that’s covered by the “medical payments” on your home policy. Medical payments are there to cover a trip to the emergency room. Medical payments coverage can range from $500 – $5000. Talk to your agent – the difference in price between the lowest coverage at $500 and the highest at $5000 is very little.

10. On the tenth day… Ten Lords a Leaping. I have to say it;  this gift makes no sense. Food, jewelry, entertainment, those are all great gifts. Ten guys just throwing themselves around might be fun for a minute or two, but those guys are going to break something in your house. Make sure that you have adequate personal property coverage so that if one of your leapers ends up knocking over your 60″ plasma TV or breaking the china cabinet doors, you will be completely covered. Some people like to save money by lowering their personal property coverage, but if your true love is a giver, I’d err on the side of caution.

11. On the eleventh day… Eleven Pipers Piping. Have you priced bagpipes lately? Figure $1000 each, maybe more if they have a fancy gold tassle and nice inlay work. Aside from the dubious value of the pipers themselves, that’s a lot of money in musical instruments. This is yet another occasion to give your insurance man a ring and schedule the pipes on your home policy. As long as they are not being used for profit (and who is paying to see pipers, really?) you can schedule them on your home policy.

12. On the twelfth day… Twelve Drummers Drumming. Geese honking, calling birds, lords jumping around knocking stuff over, the cacaphony of nearly a dozen pipers. What else do we then add to the mix? That’s right: drummers. Twelve of them. Sure, it’ll help you to keep the pipers in time, but it’s going to be loud. It’s probably also going to cause some vibrations when you add the rhythmic drumming to the leapings and crashing of your various lords, and your neighbor might watch in silent horror (punctuated by skree of the pipes) as their “Precious Moments” collection comes crashing to the floor. Damage to the property of others is covered by the liablity on your home policy. Check and make sure you carry enough. Most agents automatically raise the coverage to $500,000 because it’s an inexpensive coverage. Make sure yours is as high as can be, because you are obviously dating a nut.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and and a Happy New Year from The Phoenix Insurance!

5 Road Trip Tips For Thanksgiving Travel

Here we are again, sliding sideways into the end of the year. Before we bank that last turn into the new year and the nondenominational holidays together though, as a country, we all pull into the proverbial pits to fuel up with Turkey and Aunt Janine’s homemade wine (no one has gone blind yet!).

For many people, Thanksgiving means a road trip. Some people fly, and for them, I have no tips other than to fly the Monday after and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. For you car folks, I have lots of advice, and it’s totally worth what you are paying for it.


 1. Change your oil and check all of your fluids before you leave.  This seems like an easy thing that you would do anyway, but in reality, most people don’t. Obviously if you just changed your oil, you don’t need to change it again, but you do need to check your windshield washer fluid, and your antifreeze, and everything that goes along with the car. The guy in the picture above? He is standing with the car because he doesn’t want to hear his wife and kids complain about his lack of preparedness.


2. Make sure you have your Insurance ID card with you.  See that guy up there? He’s making that face because he is trying to decide if you actually have insurance, or if you are just a dirty liar who drives without insurance and just says he has insurance. Here’s a tip – you are getting a ticket either way. Before you leave, make sure you have your ID, your insurance card, and any other relevant papers you might need.

3. Call your insurance agent and see if you have roadside assistance.  Most insurance policies now offer roadside assistance coverage that covers a breakdown, running out of gas, or even locking yourself out of your car when you have to race in to the gas station restroom. If you don’t have roadside assistance on your policy, you should ask what it costs – in most cases it’s less than $20 a year. As long as you are on the phone to the agent, make sure you have all of the claims reporting numbers and you know what to do in the event of an accident.



 4. Bring a paper map and/ or write down any directions you may need.  As a species, we have embraced new technology, and are actually evolving so that we can no longer function without having a cell phone in our hand. This is a double edged sword, however. Sure, I can ignore your text quicker than ever, but I have also forgotten how to figure out where I am going without my phone. This is where a paper atlas or at least the relevant exits written on a piece of paper come in. There are vast stretches of this great land where there is no cellular reception. Don’t end up lost for lack of a piece of paper.

5. Bring some games and stuff for the kids. Remember the days before cell phones and in car DVD players? I sure do. You know what we did on road trips? We played car bingo and plenty of I Spy. I have provided one link, but go out and look for some other games to keep your kids busy. They can only watch “Fern Gully” so many times. Activate their brains a little, and show them some of the world.


I could keep giving you tips all day – take your own snacks, fill up before you are empty, and so on. Instead, I’m going to give you one final tip, then I’ll let you get on your way. My final tip? Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.