RICHMOND — Although the holidays for many are filled with food, fun, friends and goodwill, they also bring an array of hazards that can impact your insurance coverage. Stolen presents, slip-and-falls on icy walkways and blazes caused by flickering candles, overloaded outlets and holiday cooking mishaps are just a few.
The State Corporation Commission's (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians to make sure their holiday to-do list includes checking with their insurance agent or company to ensure they have the insurance coverage they need in the event of an illness, theft or mishap.
“Whether you are at home or on the road, don't let a lack of insurance coverage dampen your holidays financially,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Plan now for holiday hazards and minimize their financial damage by ensuring your insurance coverage is up-to-date.”
Use extra caution to keep your home, vehicle, other belongings and personal information safe during the holidays. Know how much your auto and homeowners insurance will cover if someone steals gifts, decorations or other items from your vehicle, home or yard. Know, too, what type of insurance you need in the event your special holiday meal or decorative candles go up in flames; your undercooked turkey sends guests to the hospital, or frozen pipes burst causing water damage while you’re away. Understand any deductibles or coverage limits that may apply.
Make an early New Year’s resolution to update your home inventory. This will help you ensure your homeowners or renter's policy provides enough coverage for your belongings. Separate coverage may be needed for high-cost items such as jewelry, art or electronics. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' free smartphone app — myHome Scr.APP.book — makes creating a home inventory quick and easy. This app is available through iTunes and Google Play.
If you are planning a holiday trip, find out what your health insurance will cover if you get sick and end up in an urgent care facility or hospital while you are out of state or out of the country. Remember to take with you on your trip health insurance information such as identification cards and contact details for all family members.
Whether you are dashing around town in search of the perfect gift or driving hundreds of miles to visit friends and family, keep in mind that holiday driving can be a challenge with distracted drivers and severe winter weather. Before you head out the door, make sure your auto insurance policy meets your specific needs. Check your liability limits to ensure you have adequate protection against injury or damage if you are involved in an accident during the hectic holiday rush. Keep your insurance company's contact information and a copy of your insurance card with you when you drive and know what to do if an accident occurs.
If you plan to ski, snowboard, use a snowmobile or plow snow during the winter season, ask your insurance company or agent if you are adequately covered.
For information about a variety of insurance-related topics, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance in Richmond at (804) 371-9741 or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at www.scc.virginia.gov/boi. Additional information also may be found on the InsureU portion of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website at www.insureuonline.org