COLUMBUS — It’s not too late to review your insurance before braving the cold. Winter’s routine and recreational activities bear their own unique hazards while catching a cold or the flu can be a real pain if you’re unfamiliar with your treatment options.
As part of her Think Again initiative Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is urging Ohioans to ensure they have adequate insurance for winter.
“Skipping a seasonal insurance review assuming you are protected could put you in a difficult position down the road,” said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Take a moment to understand how your insurance helps you and talk with your agent to see if you may need to make adjustments.”
Snowboarding, Skiing, Sledding and Ice Skating
If you plan to speed down your favorite slope or glide across the ice, check your homeowners or renters policy, as well as your health insurance, to ensure you know what to do in case of an accident or a loss. Also make sure you have proper liability coverage.
Generally, equipment you own will be covered, up to a specific amount by your homeowners or renters policy. Check the limit in your policy and decide if that will be enough to replace damaged or stolen equipment. Factor in your deductible. If you think you need more coverage, ask your insurance agent.
Be familiar with your emergency medical treatment requirements: Must you seek treatment at a certain hospital or urgent care center that’s in your insurer’s network? Will you have a copay? Do you have to go to a certain pharmacy to fill a prescription? Make a list of these details and carry it with your insurance card.
If you remove snow from your driveway with your own plow attached to your vehicle your personal auto policy should cover your liability and any property damage you might cause. Before offering to help friends and family, read through your policy or talk with your auto insurance agent to be certain you’re covered if something happens.
If you are plowing to make extra cash your personal auto insurance policy will not likely provide coverage if an accident occurs. Ask your agent if extra coverage is available or if a commercial auto policy – one that includes coverage for plowing – makes sense before committing your services.
Snow Removal at Home
Generally, your homeowners or renters policy will cover liability for injuries if someone other than a family member slips and falls on your property. However, your insurance company expects you to perform due diligence to make your home safe for visitors. Your city’s snow-removal laws may also play a part in what the insurer requires as due diligence. Check the ordinances in your area to see what rules apply.
Snowmobiles are not covered under typical homeowners, renters or auto insurance policies. If you are worried about your property or personal liability while operating these machines, speak with your agent about a separate snowmobile insurance policy. If you plan to take your snowmobile off your private property, carry your proof of insurance.
If you are traveling and plan to rent a snowmobile, you may consider rental insurance if it’s offered to cover a potential loss. Read the contract carefully before signing and ask questions if you don’t understand the limits or coverages.
Cold and Flu
Doctors' offices are often crowded during winter but your health insurance may offer treatment alternatives such as for a sore throat or earache. Ask if phone or web consultations with medical professionals are options. Remember mini-med or urgent care centers may accept your insurance and are likely more cost-effective than an emergency room visit. For any prolonged or acute illness visit your doctor.
If you have questions about insurance contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526. Insurance information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov.