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Navigate Holiday Mishaps with Help From DIFS
December 12, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2022
(LANSING, MICH) As 2022 comes to a close, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) recommends that you review your insurance policies and other important financial information to protect yourself from potential headaches during the holidays and beyond. It is also important to have a plan, such as a dedicated emergency fund, for paying your insurance policy’s deductible to help you avoid severe financial strain should unforeseen circumstances damage your home, auto, or possessions.
“The end of the year is an important time to review your auto and homeowners insurance policies, as well as important financial information such as statements from your financial institution and credit card companies,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Reviewing and understanding your insurance policies and financial documents can give you the peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for any unforeseen mishaps during the holidays and throughout the new year.”
The following are examples of some common mishaps, and information on how to better protect yourself before you experience a loss.
- While driving around to purchase gifts for loved ones, 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 available if you purchased optional collision coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Talk with your insurance agent or company to understand your coverage before you experience a loss.
- You start your car to warm it up before going holiday shopping because it is cold outside. When you go to get in your car, it’s 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. Personal belongings that are stolen from your vehicle are NOT covered by your auto insurance, but may be covered under your homeowners, condominium, or renter’s 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 newly acquired items 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 documentation to your 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.
- High winds, ice buildup, or a snowstorm cause a tree branch to fall through the window of your house. Damage to your home from a storm or a fallen tree, as well as the resulting tree removal, is generally covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, subject to any applicable deductibles and policy limits.
Credit Card Theft
- Someone steals your credit card information and uses it to buy expensive electronics. 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, to report it right away to your financial institution or credit card company. Consider talking to your insurance company about adding coverage to your homeowners or renter’s insurance policies to protect yourself in the event of identity theft.
- You drink some bad eggnog and end up taking a trip to an urgent care while out of state. Your office visit may be covered under your health insurance policy. While you are traveling, it’s important to know the location of health insurance information for all family members—including your identification cards and contact information for your health insurance company. If you are able, you should check with your insurance company about in-network health care providers before seeking care. If you receive medical care from an out-of-network provider, you might be subject to higher out-of-pocket costs.
For more tips on preparing your family for winter, visit the Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management & Homeland Security Division preparedness website at Michigan.gov/MIReady. For questions or concerns about your insurance, contact DIFS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442, or file a complaint by visiting Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
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.