The holidays are all about joy, fun, and hanging out with your favorite people. But while you’re immersed in everything the season has to offer, it’s also wise to make sure your home and stuff are safe from any unexpected issues that could put a damper on your holiday mood.
Your home insurance policy can help here, giving you peace of mind during this hectic time and covering many things you take for granted during the holidays — though not necessarily everything.
Let’s look at 13 scenarios you’ll want to consider this holiday season.
1. Porch Pirates
With online shopping surging, holiday package deliveries are more common than ever, but so is the risk of theft. Thieves target doorsteps, grabbing valuable parcels before you can.
Many home insurance plans cover stolen packages: report the theft, provide a police report if needed, and your policy can help replace the items within its limits. To be safe, review your policy, and think about extras like coverage for valuable items or increasing personal property protection.
2. Where There’s Smoke….
The warmth of holiday decorations and cozy gatherings can sometimes increase the risk of home fires. Faulty wiring, overloaded electrical outlets, or unattended candles can quickly escalate into a devastating blaze. Thankfully, home insurance policies typically cover damage caused by fire, including structural repairs and replacement of damaged belongings.
Prevention is key when it comes to home fires. Check your holiday lights for frayed wires, turn off decorations when leaving the house or going to bed, and keep flammable items away from heat sources — like electrical heaters. Also, make sure you’ve installed smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to further protect your home.
3: Coverage While On The Road
When you’re away during the holidays, you’ll want to protect the belongings you’ve brought along — like laptops, game systems or presents for friends and family. Some home insurance policies offer coverage for personal property you’ve taken with you so that if your belongings are stolen or damaged while you’re visiting Grandma, your insurance might help replace or repair them up to the policy’s limits.
However, it’s important to review your policy and understand the specifics. Some might have limitations on coverage for items taken outside your home. Before you plan a holiday getaway, connect with your insurance provider about travel-related coverage options or consider separate travel insurance for added peace of mind.
4. Leaving Your Home Unattended
The holiday season may witness a surge in vandalism and break-ins as empty homes become prime targets for opportunistic criminals. If your home falls victim, your home insurance policy can cover the damages caused, including stolen items and repairs to broken doors or windows.
To amp up your home’s security, consider investing in a robust alarm system, motion-activated lights, and reinforced entry points. These measures not only deter criminals; they also demonstrate to your insurance provider that you’re taking steps to mitigate risks, which may result in potential discounts on your policy.
5. Winter Water Damage
Depending on where you live, the holidays can be a wintery place with frozen pipes and ice dams leading to water damage inside your home. If left unchecked, internal flooding can damage your floors, walls, and personal belongings. Fortunately, home insurance policies typically cover water damage caused by sudden, unanticipated incidents like these.
To minimize the risk of frozen pipes, insulate exposed pipes and keep your home adequately heated, even if you plan to be away during the holidays. In case of an ice dam, remove snow from your roof before it has a chance to melt and refreeze.
6. Safety First For Guests
Apart from protecting your property and belongings, home insurance also offers liability coverage, which can be particularly valuable during the holidays. Liability coverage may help protect you if a guest gets injured on your property during a holiday get-together.
For instance, if someone slips and falls on an icy sidewalk leading to your front door, your liability coverage can help cover their medical expenses and protect you from potential lawsuits. Again, it’s always a good idea to check your policy’s liability limits to ensure they’re adequate for your needs.
7. Accidents Can Happen
Whether it’s a spilled glass of wine on the new rug, someone sitting on an iPad and breaking it in two, or a child accidentally knocking over an expensive electronic device, your home insurance may cover accidental damage to your belongings. This coverage can be especially useful when you have guests over, as accidents are more likely in a busy household.
8. The Holiday Meal
Speaking of busy households, what happens if you’re preparing dinner and the electricity goes kaput? You could lose everything in your refrigerator and freezer. Some home insurance policies (but not all) offer coverage for food spoilage due to power outages caused by covered events, such as winter or electrical storms — but there’s usually a cap as to how much you can claim. Still, this can be a helpful protection to have, especially if you’ve stocked up on holiday treats.
9. Decking The Halls
You may not even think of this, but if your inside or outside holiday decorations are damaged or destroyed due to things like a fire, theft, vandalism, or a covered weather event, your home insurance may provide coverage to replace them. This can include everything from your twinkling lights and ornaments to your inflatable lawn decorations.
10. You Can’t Go Home For The Holidays
Being unable to be home for the holidays is a drag, but sometimes it’s written in the cards. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event, your home insurance policy may cover temporary living expenses. This can help with the cost of hotel stays, meals, and other necessary accommodations while your home is being repaired.
11: What About Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft?
Credit card fraud revolves around identity theft, where someone pretends to be you while using your credit card, whether online, over the phone, or in person. Inform your bank or credit issuer immediately if you suspect unauthorized credit card use. They can cancel your card, cover fraudulent charges and help restore your credit balance once the issue is resolved.
Does home insurance cover identity fraud? Not usually, although some providers might offer it as an add-on. If you’re worried about identity theft, collaborate with your provider to explore suitable coverage options.
12. Cat Scratch Fever
Fur babies are a big part of many families, but they can get over-excited at the holidays (just like kiddos) and sometimes cause accidents or injuries. If your cat, dog, or other pet bites or scratches a guest (or their pet) or ruins someone’s property, your home insurance liability coverage may come into play, offering financial protection in case you’re faced with a lawsuit or need to cover someone’s medical expenses.
13. Mother Nature Has Other Ideas
Winter weather can vary, sometimes bringing strong winds and heavy snow that result in fallen trees or limbs damaging your property. Thankfully, home insurance usually handles the expenses for tree removal and repairs caused by such incidents to your home or other structures. While a deductible might apply, events like these are exactly why you have home insurance in the first place!
Regardless, have a safe and happy holiday!
Keep in mind that each home insurance policy is unique, and what you’re covered for depends on the specific terms of your policy. Take the time to go through your policy details, understand your coverage limits, and talk about any add-ons that could be useful for both the holiday season and ongoing protection.
If you’re unsure about anything related to your home insurance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us elves at Guided Solutions for clear answers and assistance.