INSURE YOUR HOLIDAYS AGAINST MISHAPS
The Mississippi Insurance Department wants all Mississippians to have a safe and happy holiday.
Here are some tips about those things we don’t normally think about when planning the holidays:
Update Your Home Inventory
- Don’t forget to add expensive Christmas gifts such as new TV’s, cameras, electronic equipment, jewelry, or art to your home inventory.
Make sure you have documentation of these items and notify your agent if you think additional coverage may be required. A home inventory checklist can be found on the MID website at http://www.mid.ms.gov/pdf/HomeInventoryChecklist.pdf
- Don’t forget to add new furniture you may have purchased during the year.
- Keep a copy of your checklist offsite (a location away from your home) or give a duplicate copy to a trusted friend or attorney.
- What if you and a family member are taking turns driving your car to a family gathering and you get into an accident while your relative is driving?
- Auto insurance coverage follows the vehicle, so your car will generally
be covered while your relative is driving, the same as if you were
driving. For example, if your family member slides off the road due to a
patch of ice, and you only have liability coverage, there would not be
coverage for any damage to the car itself, no matter who was driving. In
addition, keep in mind that your premiums might increase due to the
- What if you take someone else's car (with their permission) to the store
because it was the last one in the driveway, and you accidentally back
it into your neighbor's car parked across the street?
- The existing auto insurance policy on the borrowed vehicle would provide
primary coverage in the event of a claim. If no coverage exists, your
auto insurance policy might provide coverage. Talk with your insurance
agent or company to find out if your auto insurance coverage will extend
to a friend or family member's car you plan on operating.
- What if you decide to visit your extended family in Canada or Mexico?
Will you have coverage for your vehicle there?
- Auto insurance policies often do not provide coverage when the vehicle
is driven outside of the United States. Check with your insurance agent
or company to ensure that your auto insurance coverage will apply
outside the United States. Most policies afford coverage while driving
in Canada, but not in Mexico. Check with your insurance agent or company
regarding coverage limitations.
- What if you loan your car to a family member 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.
- What if someone breaks your car's window and steals gifts from the back
seat while your car is parked at the mall?
- Standard homeowners and renter's insurance policies provide coverage for
this peril, 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.
- What happens if your coworker, a guest at your holiday party, slips and
falls on your icy driveway?
- Standard homeowners insurance policies provide limited medical payments
coverage if your guest seeks medical attention. If the coworker 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.
- What if an ice or snow storm causes a tree to fall through the front
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 (generally
up to $1,000) - 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 not help you purchase a
- What if your presents are stolen from under the Christmas tree in your
- 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 or furs, there might only be $1,500
coverage; and if the package contained a silver-plated tea set, there
might only be $2,500 coverage. Standard condominium and renter's
insurance policies provide similar coverage. Check your homeowners
policy for specific sublimits.
- What if someone steals the holiday decorations in your front yard?
- 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.
Credit Card Theft
- What if you lose your credit card and someone uses it to buy a big screen television?
- Credit card theft might be covered as part of your credit card contract.
Standard homeowners insurance policies typically provide up to $500 of
coverage toward your legal obligation to pay your creditor. However,
coverage is not provided if a family member, entrusted with the card,
buys a big screen television. Federal law also limits a cardholder's
responsibility as long as the issuer of the credit card is promptly
notified in accordance with the terms and conditions of the cardholder agreement.
- What if the holiday eggnog is bad and you end up in an urgent care
you are out of state?
- Most health insurance policies provide coverage for urgent care and
emergency room visits while traveling, if they provide for such coverage
at home. If you plan to travel, be sure to take your health insurance
information for all family members - including your identification cards
and contact details - with you. Co-payments associated with urgent care
visits are typically lower than co-payments for emergency room visits.
Prior to leaving town, it is also a good idea to check with your
insurance company about in-network healthcare providers at your
destination. If you receive medical care from an out-of-network
provider, you might be subject to higher deductibles and/or co-payments.