Don't Let a Holiday Mishap Ruin Your Seasonal Spirit
For Immediate Release - December 11, 2015
(LANSING) The holiday season should be a time to focus on friends and family, not worry about whether your insurance coverage is sufficient. As you prepare to celebrate the season, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) recommends you review your insurance policies to avoid potential holiday nightmares.
“This is the season for surprises, don’t let your insurance coverage be one of them. It is a good idea to review your insurance policies once a year,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin. “You want to be sure you have the best policy for you and your family.”
The following are some examples of scenarios you might face this time of year.
- A visiting relative is in an accident while driving your vehicle. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, everyone seeks coverage under their own insurance policy for damage to their vehicle. This is only provided, however, if you have purchased collision coverage as part of your automobile policy. The visiting relative’s insurer would not be required to repair your vehicle. If a visiting relative is injured in the accident, they would first seek medical benefits from their own auto insurer. Talk with your agent who can explain your Michigan no-fault policy benefits.
- It’s cold outside and you leave your car running while you run in to grab a last minute gift card. 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.
- Someone steals the holiday decorations from your front yard. A standard homeowner policy would typically provide coverage for this type of theft, subject to your policy deductible and coverage limits. Thefts of these items are also generally covered if you have a condominium or renter's insurance policy.
- Presents are stolen from your home or your vehicle. Items stolen from your vehicle are NOT covered by your auto insurance, but by your homeowners insurance. A standard homeowner insurance policy provides coverage with special limits for certain goods, such as electronics and jewelry. Standard condominium and rental insurance policies provide similar coverage. 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.
- Your coworker slips and falls on your icy driveway at your New Year's Eve party. A standard homeowner insurance policy can provide limited medical payments coverage when your guest needs medical attention. A standard homeowner's insurance policy 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 snow storm causes a tree to fall through the front window of your house. Home damage and tree removal is generally covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, subject to a deductible.
- A candle falls over and lights a curtain, causing a house fire. A standard homeowner insurance policy will cover your home and belongings destroyed by a fire, up to policy limits and subject to a deductible. Standard homeowner 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
- Someone uses your credit card to buy a big screen television. The purchase might be covered as part of your contract with your credit card company. Standard homeowner insurance policies typically provide a limited amount of coverage toward your legal obligation to pay your credit card company. However, there is no coverage if, for example, a family member entrusted with the card buys a big screen television.
- You drink some bad eggnog and end up in an urgent care facility while you are out of state. Your visit is likely covered under your health insurance policy. If you plan to travel, remember to take health insurance information for all family members--including your identification cards and contact details--with you. Co-payments with urgent care visits are typically lower than co-payments for emergency room visits. Before leaving, 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 higher co-pays.
Anyone with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage is asked to call the DIFS toll-free hotline at 877-999-6442.
If you believe your insurance company has not handled your claim properly, file a complaint with the DIFS. They will determine whether your insurance company has followed the Michigan Insurance Code and your policy language in their processing of your claim.
Department of Insurance and Financial Services, Stevens T. Mason Bldg., 7th Floor, PO Box 30220, Lansing, MI 48909