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4 Holiday Disasters Covered By Your Home Insurance

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 | December 6, 2018
Home insurance and holiday home disasters

Accidents happen, even amongst the magic of the holidays. But you don’t want to be preoccupied worrying about all the incidents you could run into during the spirit of the season. You want your home, family, and holidays protected so you can focus on having fun with loved ones.

So make sure your home is fully protected against all potential holiday disasters. Insurance allows you to have peace and joy this season.

Here are four holiday disasters that your home insurance can cover.

1. Stolen presents

The Grinch is out and about during the Christmas season. Thieves love the holidays because new goodies are everywhere and people are hectically running around and not paying attention. This gives Grinches the perfect opening to sneak away your new presents before you even have the chance to give them to your loved ones.

Thieves can steal from both the car and from the home during the holiday season. In both cases, the goods would likely be covered under your homeowners insurance. If stolen from your house, it would likely be covered under “contents coverage.” If taken from your car, it could fall under “personal property off premises” coverage.

But it’s important to note that if you’re buying expensive gifts, you want to let your insurance company know the moment you take it out of the store (or before). If you buy your wife a new diamond necklace and someone steals it an hour later, your insurance company might not pay for it because it’s not yet listed on your contents coverage. All gifts should be reported to your insurance company as soon as possible. Think of it like Santa’s helper list to keep you protected! Learn how to insure your holiday gifts here.

To help prevent theft:

  • Put presents in the trunk of the car during your busy shopping days. Cover with a blanket so thieves can’t see what they could steal.
  • Always lock your car, even if you’re running into a store “just for a minute.”
  • Keep all receipts from gift purchases.
  • Turn alarm systems on in your home.
  • Keep a few lights on when traveling or out of the house to deter thieves.
  • Hide presents away from windows and doors so they aren’t in view from the street.

Read: Beware Holiday Identity Theft

2. Tree fire

Fires are much more common during the holiday season. You’re cooking more, the air is drier, and it’s easier to get distracted. This can create chaotic situations where fire thrives. Fires are also common during the season due to candles, overworked outlets, and even dehydrated Christmas trees.

Your homeowners insurance can help cover in the case of fire damage. Your dwelling coverage would pay for any repairs to your home; contents coverage would help cover any possessions that were damaged or destroyed; and additional living expenses could help pay for a temporary place to live if you have to leave your house during repairs. We recommend that you have enough in dwelling coverage that you would be able to completely rebuild your home in the case of a totally destructive fire.

Note: Not all homeowners policies include fire protection. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered against fire.  

How to prevent fire:

  • Water your Christmas tree regularly.
  • Know your Christmas tree safety inside and out.
  • Unplug or turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Check all wires for shorts or fraying.
  • Never use candles on trees or near anything flammable.
  • Always blow out candles before leaving the house and/or after 4 hours of burning.
  • Be mindful of the stove and oven, especially when preparing a lot of food.
  • Have fire extinguishers on hand in a convenient, accessible location.

3. Injured guests

If someone gets hurt while on your property, you could be held responsible for their damages. This includes both invited and uninvited guests. So, you could be responsible for your uncle getting too drunk and tripping on the carpet, and you could also be responsible if a delivery man slips on an icy walkway up to your doorstep. You could even have to pay for Santa’s trip to the ER if he falls from your roof.

A lot can go wrong during the holiday season, especially with holiday parties and cold winter weather. You could be held liable for any and all injuries that occur on your property.

Liability protection can help cover a lawsuit if someone sues you for damages after an incident on your property. Medical payments coverage also can help cover costs if a guest has to pay for medical treatment after an injury. Liability usually steps in for larger lawsuits against you, while medical payments has a lower limit and pays for medical payments without a court case. Typically, you want at least $300,000 in liability and $500 in medical payments at minimum.

Note: If you have a holiday party and someone drives home drunk, you could actually be held partially responsible for any damage they cause! Don’t let your guests drink and drive.

How to prevent injury:

  • Salt your driveway and walkway to prevent ice.
  • Take note of any dangerous or hazardous areas of your home, including loose floorboards or carpets.
  • Watch your guests’ intake of alcohol. If someone has had too much to drink, offer them a place to stay.
  • Be proactive about maintaining your home to help reduce potential risks.

4. Frozen pipes

Frozen pipes are one of the most common winter claims. If the house gets too chilly, the water in your pipes can freeze and expand (turning into ice). This can cause the pipes to burst, leading to serious and expensive water damage in your home. Even one inch of water can cost thousands in repairs.

Most homeowners insurance will cover water damage from frozen pipes. Dwelling coverage would cover any structural damage, and contents coverage would help replace your belongings. If the damage makes your house uninhabitable during repairs, additional living expenses can help pay for temporary shelter.

How to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Leave your bathroom faucets gently dripping water. This encourages some water flow, so stagnant water won’t freeze in the pipes.
  • Keep your house heated, even when going on holiday vacation or leaving for long periods.
  • If you’ll be gone for more than two weeks, consider shutting off your water and draining all pipes.
  • Consider adding insulation to your water pipes and heater.

Bottom line

Things can go wrong, even during the holiday season. Protect yourself with a few safety measures and plenty of homeowners coverage, so you can have peace of mind for the holidays.

Contact an InsuraMatch agent now to make sure you’re fully equipped for the season.