Here’s how home insurance pays for fires, stolen gifts and other seasonal disasters.
You have decorated the tree and put lights in the windows. The next thing you know you are smelling smoke.
Insurance can help you get through the holiday season without any hassle. Here are some common holiday disasters and how your homeowners insurance can come to the rescue.
Decorations set fire to themselves
When the halls are adorned with fire hazards, “Chestnuts roasting over an open fire” has a new meaning. If placed too close to heat sources, dehydrated Christmas trees can catch fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, candles account for half of all December decoration fires.
There are three types of fire coverage. The dwelling coverage covers repairs to your house, while coverage for other structures is for detached garages or fences. Personal property coverage will cover the cost of replacing damaged items, subject to your policy limits.
Avoid festive fires by keeping candles away from flammable items, following all manufacturer instructions for holiday lighting outside, and ensuring that a real Christmas tree is hydrated.
Your identity is stolen
Your bank information and credit card details could be stolen if you have purchased holiday gifts online this year.
Identity theft coverage can pay for out-of-pocket expenses related to identity theft or fraud. This coverage is included in some homeowners insurance policies for no cost. However, you will likely need to add it to your policy.
Avoiding unsecured networks and shopping from trusted shops can help reduce identity theft. To check for a privacy statement on the site, and a padlock at the URL’s left, look out for a padlock. Instead of allowing online sellers to store your data, you can reenter account information each time you make a purchase.
Presents get stolen
If expensive holiday gifts go missing, don’t pout. You can get personal property coverage that covers items taken from your car and home up to the limits of your policy.
Avoid letting holiday gifts sit unattended to prevent thieves. You can also set up security cameras around your home. You can store gifts in your car safely. Lock the doors and park in a well lit area.
If gifts are stolen, file a claim with your insurance company only if their value exceeds your deductible.
Guest gets hurt
Let’s say you undercook the turkey. Maybe someone breaks a hip on your icy walkway, or the dog bites a guest. It is possible that you could be held responsible for their medical bills.
Your home insurance policy includes medical expense coverage that pays for the treatment of your guests who are sick or injured. Personal liability coverage covers you in the event they sue.
You may have to skip holiday gatherings this year due to the pandemic. If you host guests, be sure to follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for small gatherings. These include wearing masks and social distancing.
Water pipe bursts
When a pipe is too cold, the water inside will freeze and expand, increasing the likelihood of a burst. Home insurance generally covers water damage due to burst pipes. However, make sure you read the fine print.
Watch out for signs such as low water pressure and frosty pipes to avoid any damage. You can reduce the risk of water burst by:
- Your thermostat should be kept at a minimum of 55°F.
- To allow warmer air to circulate, open kitchens and bathrooms-sink cabinets are available.
- To relieve pressure, let water run off the faucets.