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Don't Let a Mishap Ruin Your Holiday Spirit
December 22, 2020
(LANSING, MICH) The holiday season should be a time to focus on friends and family, not to worry about your insurance coverage or falling victim to fraud. As you celebrate the season, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) recommends that you review your insurance policies and other important financial information to avoid potential holiday nightmares.
“Now is a good time to review your insurance policies, credit card statements, and other important financial information so you are prepared for unexpected mishaps,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Understanding your coverages and reviewing your financial documents can make the difference between a holiday disaster and a minor inconvenience.”
The following are some examples of scenarios you might face this time of year.
- While driving around to look at holiday decorations, icy road conditions result in an auto accident. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, everyone seeks coverage under their own auto insurance policy for medical costs. Coverage for damage to your vehicle is only provided if you have purchased collision coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Talk with your insurance agent who can explain your Michigan no-fault policy benefits.
- It’s cold outside and you start your car to warm it up before going holiday shopping. When you get back, your car is gone. You must carry an optional coverage known as Comprehensive if you want to have coverage in the event your vehicle is stolen.
- Presents are stolen from your home or your vehicle. Items stolen from your vehicle are NOT covered by your auto insurance but may be covered under your homeowners, condominium, or renters insurance. Standard policies provide coverage with special limits for certain goods, such as electronics and jewelry. Check your policy for specific item limits and be sure to add new items acquired to your policy as soon as possible to ensure you are covered. It is also a good idea to add the items to your home inventory. Always keep receipts to ensure that you can provide support to the insurer for the items purchased.
- Someone slips and falls on your icy driveway while making a delivery. A standard homeowners insurance policy can provide limited medical payments coverage when a visitor is injured at your home and will also provide liability coverage to protect you in the event you are sued. Check with your insurance agent or company to be sure you have adequate liability limits.
- An ice or snowstorm causes a tree to fall through the front window of your house. Damage to your home from a storm or a fallen tree and the resulting tree removal is generally covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, subject to a deductible and your policy limits.
Credit Card Theft
- Someone steals your credit card information to buy a big screen television. You may be protected from this unauthorized purchase as part of your contract with your financial institution or credit card company. However, there is no coverage if, for example, a family member entrusted with the card buys a big screen television. It is important to keep your financial information protected, and if you believe your credit card or other personal information has been compromised, report it right away to your financial institution or credit card company. You may talk to your insurance company about adding coverage to your homeowners or renters insurance policies to protect yourself the event of identity theft.
- Your daughter burns her hand helping you bake holiday treats. Your office visit is likely covered under your health insurance policy. Know the location of health insurance information for all family members—including your identification cards and contact information for your health insurance company. Co-payments with urgent care visits are typically lower than co-payments for emergency room visits. Check with your insurance company about in-network health care providers. If you receive medical care from an out-of-network provider, you might be subject to higher out-of-pocket costs, through higher deductibles or co-pays.
DIFS encourages consumers to first attempt to resolve disputes directly with their insurance or financial service provider. If a resolution cannot be reached, the department can help try to resolve disputes. To learn more and file a complaint, visit Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
Anyone with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage or financial services is asked to call the DIFS toll-free hotline 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.