COLUMBUS – As Ohioans prepare to gather with family and friends for the holiday season now is a good time to review insurance coverage. Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor suggests you take the time to review potential mishaps and understand how your insurance might apply.
What if someone breaks your car’s window and steals gifts from the back seat?
Standard homeowners and renter’s insurance policies provide coverage for the loss of the gifts, subject to the policy deductible and coverage limits. Some automobile 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 automobile insurance policy, the cost to repair the window will be covered subject to the deductible.
What happens if a visitor to your home slips and falls on your icy driveway or walkway?
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide limited medical payments coverage if your visitor seeks medical attention. If the person sues you for additional damages, your standard homeowners insurance policy should provide liability coverage. Check with your insurance agent or company to be sure you have adequate liability limits. If you have purchased an umbrella policy, liability coverage may be provided by this policy as well.
What if an ice or snow storm causes a tree to fall through a window of your house?
Standard homeowners insurance policies generally provide coverage for damage to the home — as well as the cost to remove the tree, typically up to a certain amount — if the tree fell due to the weight of ice or snow, minus your deductible. Check your policy to find out what limit of coverage you have. However, your homeowners policy will likely not help you purchase a new tree.
What if your presents are stolen from your home?
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage subject to the deductible and special sublimits for certain goods, such as electronics and jewelry. For example, if the wrapped package was a $300 gift card to an electronics store, there might only be $200 coverage; if the package contained $2,000 worth of jewelry, there might only be $1,500 coverage. Check your homeowners policy for specific sublimits.
What if someone steals holiday decorations from your property?
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 renter’s insurance policy.
What if your holiday candles cause a house fire?
Under a standard homeowners insurance policy, your home and belongings will be covered if they are destroyed by a fire, subject to your deductible and policy limits. Standard policies typically provide additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a fire or other disaster.
What if a friend driving your car gets into an accident?
Auto insurance coverage either follows the vehicle or the operator, so your car will generally be covered while your friend is driving. Policy language will determine which policy if the owner or the operator’s policy is primary. For example, if your friend slides off the road due to a patch of ice, and you only have liability coverage, there may not be coverage for any damage to the car itself, no matter who was driving. Check with your insurance agent or insurance company to understand which policy is primary in this type of situation. In addition, keep in mind that your premiums might increase due to the accident.
What if you borrow someone else’s car (with their permission) and get into an accident?
The existing auto insurance policy on the borrowed vehicle may provide primary coverage in the event of a claim or your insurance policy may provide primary coverage. If no coverage exists on the borrowed car, your auto insurance policy might provide coverage. Talk with your insurance agent or company to find out if and how your auto insurance coverage will extend to a friend or family member's car you plan on operating.
What if you loan your car to a friend and they get pulled over for driving while intoxicated?
Your automobile coverage will not be affected if another driver is simply ticketed for a driving violation. However, if the person to whom you loaned the vehicle has an accident while intoxicated, the company might non-renew your policy or charge a higher premium if your policy had to pay for the claim.
Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. Information, including the Department’s new consumer guides, is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can follow the Ohio Department of Insurance on twitter @OHInsurance and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance.