COLUMBUS – Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is reminding Ohioans as they prepare to celebrate the holiday season – and the mishaps that can come along with it – that they should review their insurance policies to avoid potential coverage gaps and determine if adjustments are needed.
“The holiday season is about enjoying time with our loved ones and friends, but unfortunately a unique set of risks can quickly spoil the good cheer,” said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Speak with your insurance agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage this holiday season.”
Protect yourself financially from these holiday hazards with adequate insurance:
A visiting relative or friend is in an accident while driving your vehicle
Auto insurance coverage follows either the vehicle or the operator, so your car should generally be covered while your friend or relative 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 ice and you only have liability coverage, there may not be coverage for any damage to the car itself. Check with your insurance agent or company to understand which policy is primary in this type of situation.
Someone steals holiday decorations from your front yard
Under a standard homeowners 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 renters insurance policy. A renters policy may exclude outside decorations.
Presents are stolen from your home or your vehicle
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for the theft of gifts, subject to the policy deductible and coverage limits. Some auto policies also provide coverage. If this happens to you, talk with your insurance agent or company to find out under which policy you should file your claim. If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, the cost to repair the damage should be covered and may be subject to the deductible.
Your coworker slips and falls on your icy driveway at your New Year’s Eve party
A standard homeowners insurance policy can provide limited medical payment coverage when your guest needs medical attention. A standard homeowners insurance policy will also provide liability coverage should the guest seek compensation for additional damages. Check with your insurance agent or company to be sure you have adequate liability limits.
An ice or snowstorm causes a tree to fall through the front window of your house
Standard homeowners 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, it’s not likely your homeowners policy will help you purchase a new tree.
A kitchen accident or holiday candles cause a house fire
A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover your home and belongings destroyed by a fire, up to policy limits and subject to a deductible. Standard homeowner policies typically provide additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a fire or other disaster.
Credit Card Theft
Someone uses your credit card to buy a big screen television
The purchase might be covered as part of your contract with your credit card company. Standard homeowners insurance policies typically provide a limited amount of coverage toward your legal obligation to pay your credit card company. However, there is no coverage if, for example, a family member entrusted with the card buys a big screen television. Federal law also limits a cardholder’s responsibility as long as the credit card company is promptly notified per the cardholder agreement.
You drink some bad eggnog and end up in an urgent care facility while you are out of state
Your visit is likely covered under your health insurance policy. If you plan to travel, remember to take health insurance information for all family members – including your identification cards and contact details – with you. Co-payments with urgent care visits are typically lower than co-payments for emergency room visits. Before leaving, check with your insurance company about in-network healthcare providers at your destination. If you receive medical care from an out-of-network provider, you might be subject to higher deductibles and/or higher co-payments.
Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Ohio Department of Insurance consumer hotline at
800-686-1526. Insurance information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can follow the Ohio Department of Insurance on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance and Twitter @OHInsurance.