BY ANDREW STEWART
The holidays can be a crazy time between entertaining out-of-town guests, shopping for gifts, traveling and preparing meals. During the holidays, most people would rather be spending time with family, than thinking about insurance. However, it is also one of the times of year when home, automobile and life insurance claims are at their highest. Take the time this season to make sure all your insurance needs are adequate and that you take the necessary precautions.
A lot of us will avoid the stress of the stores and malls and do our gift shopping online. When your parcels are delivered, a growing concern is what if a thief steals your package from your doorstep…now what? Once it has been on your doorstep, it belongs to you so unfortunately you are responsible for it. In this case, your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover you, but it would be subject to your deductible. Another issue with online shopping is identity theft. The holidays can be a peak time for it to happen.
To protect yourself from id theft, follow these tips:
- Watch out for phishing websites
- Use an Anti-virus/Anti-Malware program
- Unique passwords for every website
- Shop only at reputable websites
- Don’t divulge too much personal information via Social Media
- Monitor your credit profile
If you’re still worried about online shopping with your credit card, you can purchase identity theft insurance. This coverage can be added to your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Parking lots are going to be fuller during these months and people tend to be a little more aggressive. Not because they are bad people but the added stress makes getting a parking spot seem more important than usual. Hopefully this won’t happen to you. But you might wonder what happens if your vehicle is involved in a hit-and-run or broken into while shopping. The good news insurance-wise is that typically a hit-and-run will be covered by your car insurance. Under your collision coverage, if your vehicle gets hit by an unknown motorist and damage is done, your car insurance policy will most likely protect you. This coverage is subject to your deductible. And what if someone breaks into your vehicle and steals your belongings! In this case, it wouldn’t be your car insurance that will come in handy, but instead your home insurance.
Parking lots are one thing but the roads and highways are a whole different issue. Poor driving conditions contribute to the rise in automobile accidents during the winter and the first snowfall can be one of the worst times for automobile collisions. Drive defensively this holiday season and make sure you have the proper safety equipment in your car in case you are stuck at the side of the road in the cold.
Here is a list of items you should keep in your car during the colder months:
- Heating Pad
- Sand, salt or kitty litter
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Extra clothing and footwear
- Emergency food pack
- Booster cables or a portable charger pack
- Ice scraper and brush
- Road maps
- Flashlight and batteries
- First-aid kit
- Blanket (special ‘survival’ blankets are best)
- Extra charged cellular battery
Ok! So, your car is prepared for the winter and you are ready to drive, but what happens when a house guest or friend wants to borrow your precious vehicle. What would happen if they were to get into an accident in your car? As a temporary guest, he or she would be covered driving your car under your car insurance. If that guest were to get into an accident your insurance will cover your car. Hopefully, that guest would also have insurance of their own to serve as “back-up”. The good news is that the surcharge for the accident will follow the driver, not the car.
Your finances are just as important. The holidays are also a time when you might want to reassess your family’s financial protection and make sure you have enough life insurance to provide for them. A lot of employer’s policies don’t provide nearly enough coverage. If you really want to help protect your spouse, children or other loved ones in the event you are no longer able to financially support them, leave the iPhone and 56″ TV at the mall and purchase a Term Life Insurance or Accidental Death Insurance policy. Part of having an enjoyable holiday is having a safe holiday. I wish you and your loved ones all the best this season.