January 3, 2014
COLUMBUS – ‘Tis the season for gathering with family and friends. But unfortunately, holiday mishaps are capable of putting a damper on your joyous mood at any moment. Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor is urging Ohioans to take a moment to review their insurance coverage with an agent or insurance company to ensure protection against possible unfortunate events, such as those listed here.
Someone breaks your car’s window and steals gifts from the back seat.
Standard homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies provide coverage for the loss of the gifts, subject to the policy deductible and coverage limits. Some automobile policies also provide coverage. If this happens to you, talk with your insurance agent or company to find out which policy you should file your claim. If you have comprehensive coverage on your automobile insurance policy, the cost to repair the window will be covered and may be subject to the deductible.
A visitor to your home slips and falls on your icy driveway or walkway.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies provide limited medical payments coverage if your visitor seeks medical attention. If the person sues you for additional damages, your standard homeowner’s insurance policy should provide liability coverage. Check with your insurance agent or company to be sure you have adequate liability limits. If you have purchased an umbrella policy, liability coverage may be provided by this policy as well.
An ice or snow storm causes a tree to damage your house.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies generally provide coverage for damage to the home, less your deductible. In addition, the cost to remove the tree is typically covered up to a certain amount. Check your policy to find out what limit of coverage you have. However, your homeowner’s policy will likely not help you purchase a new tree.
Presents are stolen from your home.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage subject to the deductible and special sublimits for certain goods, such as electronics and jewelry. For example, if the wrapped package was a $300 gift card to an electronics store, there might only be $200 of coverage; if the package contained $2,000 worth of jewelry, there might only be $1,500 of coverage. Check your homeowner’s policy for specific sublimits.
Holiday decorations are stolen from your property.
Under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, decorations are generally covered, subject to your policy deductible and coverage limits. These items would also generally be covered if you have a condominium or renter’s insurance policy. A renter’s policy may exclude outside decorations.
A kitchen accident or holiday candles cause a house fire.
Under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, your home and belongings will be covered if they are destroyed by a fire, subject to your deductible and policy limits. Standard policies typically provide additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a fire or other disaster.
A friend driving your car gets into an accident.
Auto insurance coverage either follows the vehicle or the operator, so your car will generally be covered while your friend is driving. Policy language will determine if the owner or the operator’s policy is primary. However, if your friend slides off the road due to a patch of ice, and you only have liability coverage, there may not be coverage for any damage to the car itself, no matter who was driving. Check with your insurance agent or insurance company to understand which policy is primary in this type of situation.
You borrow someone else’s car with their permission, and get into an accident?
The auto insurance policy on the borrowed vehicle may provide primary coverage in the event of a claim or your insurance policy may provide primary coverage. If no coverage exists on the borrowed car, your auto insurance policy might provide coverage. Talk with your insurance agent or company to find out if and how your auto insurance coverage will extend to a friend or non-residing family member’s car you plan on operating.
You loan your car to a friend and they get pulled over for a moving violation.
Your automobile coverage will not be affected if another driver is ticketed for a driving violation. However, if the person to whom you loaned the vehicle has an accident while intoxicated, the company might non-renew your policy or charge a higher premium if your policy had to pay for the claim.
Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. Information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can follow the Ohio Department of Insurance on twitter @OHInsurance and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance.