Every family has a holiday disaster that is terrible the first year, but as the years go on, retelling the story becomes a part of family tradition. Insurance isn’t festive, but it can come to the rescue of your festivities.
1. If you poison someone at dinner, the liability portion of your home insurance is there for you.This one is based on a true story; one year when we were up north for the holidays, we went to eat at Uncle Bill’s house for the big meal. As he always had, Uncle Bill stored the turkey outside on the porch until it was time to cook. However, that year there was an unnaturally warm afternoon, and the turkey thawed quickly and then froze again that evening. When the turkey was cooked and served, everyone (except for Uncle Bill) ended up in the hospital with food poisoning. That year we only had family members in attendance, and no one filed suit. However, if someone had decided to sue, the liability portion of his insurance would have covered him.
2. If someone steals the presents you have in your back seat, the “personal property off premises” coverage of your home insurance will cover you.
First, if you are shopping for gifts and making multiple stops, be sure to keep all of your purchases in the trunk of your car. However, if you drive an SUV, that’s obviously not an option. Unfortunately the holidays don’t just bring out the good in people, they also present an opportunity for thieving scumbags to break your window and steal all of the presents you have purchased. If that were to happen, those gifts would be covered by your home insurance (or renters insurance if you don’t own a home). I would still bring along a blanket to keep your purchases away from prying eyes, but your insurance is there for you should something terrible happen.
3. If your tree burns down your house, you are covered.Once again, I’m going to first give you some good advice; water your tree, check the wires on your lights for shorts, and never go old school on your tree by using candles for light. Sometimes however, even if you follow my advice, bad things can happen. If the worst happens and your tree catches fire, your home insurance is there for you with fire coverage – and if your house is burned, you will need a place to celebrate that doesn’t stink of smoke and firemen’s sweat. That’s where the additional living expense coverage comes in; you will obviously need a place to live while your home is being repaired. You won’t be celebrating at home, but you also won’t have to impose on Uncle Bill (and risk that turkey dinner).
4. If your party gets too rambunctious and someone gets hurt, you are covered.We have all been there; the party is bumping, the rug is rolled up, people are dancing, and then a scream as Aunt Josehine sprains her ankle and hits the floor. Luckily for you, your homeowner’s insurance includes “medical payments” coverage so you can rush her to the emergency room. The minimum coverage is $500, but more can be purchased if you are so inclined. I would certainly purchase more if you throw lots of parties – and if you have elderly aunts who like to cut a rug.
5. That new car you put a bow on is automatically covered.This one isn’t actually covered on your homeowner’s insurance, but it is covered by your auto insurance. When you purchase a new vehicle, your auto insurance automatically extends to the new vehicle for 30 days. That way you don’t have to risk spoiling the surprise by adding the car in advance of giving it to the giftee. This coverage extension isn’t here just to prevent spoiling surprises, it’s to ensure that your new purchase is covered until you can get hold of your agent. This 30 day courtesy extension doesn’t just happen during the holidays either, it is available to protect you year round.
These are just five ways your homeowner’s (and auto) insurance protects you against disaster during the holidays. Obviously no one wants to rely on their insurance to save the holiday, but it is nice to know it’s there if a disaster should try to ruin the season. Here at The Phoenix, we wish you a very happy holiday, and hope that you don’t have to make a claim this time of year – but if you need to, we are here to help!