Donít Get Frozen Out by Your Insurance
Itís a winter wonderland in many parts of the country. Whether youíre traveling to snow, or Mother Nature is bringing it home to you, there are insurance considerations to review before you bundle up and brave the cold. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests you review your insurance policies to see how you are covered for some common winter activities.
Before you jump on a ski lift or take a run down your favorite slope, it is a good idea to check your homeowners or renterís policy, as well as your health insurance, just to make sure you know what to do in case of an accident or a loss.
Generally, ski equipment you own will be covered up to a specific limit by your homeowners or renterís policy. Check the limit in your policy and decide if that will be enough to replace the equipment if it is damaged or stolen. When checking, remember to factor in your deductible. If you think you need more coverage, talk with your insurance agent about an additional rider for the equipment.
Because you may be out of town without access to your family
physician or local hospital, make sure to review your emergency
medical treatment requirements Ė for instance, are you required to seek
medical treatment at a certain hospital or urgent care center? Whatís your
emergency room co-pay? If you need to fill a prescription, do you have to
go to a certain pharmacy? It never hurts to have a list of these details
when you travel.
Snowmobiles are not covered under typical homeowners, renterís or auto
insurance policies. So if you are worried about your property or personal
liability while operating these machines, talk with your insurance agent
about a separate snowmobile insurance policy. Be aware that if you
plan to take your snowmobile off your private property, you should carry
proof of insurance.
If you are traveling and plan to rent a snowmobile, consider
rental insurance if it is offered and you are worried about
covering a loss. Read the contract carefully before signing, and ask
questions if you donít understand the limits or coverages.
Whether you are planning a getaway to somewhere warm or headed to
a snowy destination, travel this time of year can be uncertain. Airports
around the U.S. and Europe are already experiencing delays and
cancellations because of winter weather. Travel sites and airlines offer
travel insurance for people worried about not getting to their
destination, or getting stuck far away from home. Travel insurance can
cover everything from lost luggage to delays and cancellations. Make sure
you closely read any policy you consider. For more complete
information about travel insurance, read this consumer alert: Offers
of ďProtectionĒ May Not Provide Insurance Coverage for Your Travel
If you have a plow on your truck ready to
help friends by volunteering to remove the snow in their driveway,
your personal auto policy should cover your liability and any property
damage you might cause. But, before offering to help, read through
your policy or talk with your auto insurance agent to make sure you are
If, however, you are using that blade to make a little extra
cash this winter, your personal auto insurance policy will not likely
provide coverage. You should consider a commercial auto policy Ė
one that includes coverage for plowing Ė before committing your
Snow Removal at Home
Generally, your homeowners or renterís policy will cover liability
for injuries, should someone slip and fall on your property.
However, your insurance company is going to expect that you are performing
due diligence to make the walks around your home safe for visitors. Your
cityís snow-removal statutes may also play a part in what the insurance
company is going to require. Check with your city to see what
Doctors' offices are crowded during cold and flu season, making a
trip for a sore throat or an
earache potentially time-consuming. Your health insurance
may offer alternatives to waiting at the doctorís office. Ask your
health insurer whether your plan includes a nurse answer line
that can answer questions about your symptoms. Or, check to see if the
local pharmacy has a quick treatment center that accepts your health
insurance. However, for any prolonged or acute illness,
it is best to see your doctor in person.
For more information about health, home, life and auto insurance options, and tips for choosing the coverage that is right for you and your family, visit www.InsureUonline.org.
About the NAIC
Formed in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory
officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S.
territories. The NAIC has three offices: Executive Office, Washington,
D.C.; Central Office, Kansas City, Mo.; and Securities Valuation Office,
New York City. The NAIC serves the needs of consumers and the industry,
with an overriding objective of supporting state insurance regulators as
they protect consumers and maintain the financial stability of the
insurance marketplace. For more consumer information, visit insureUonline.org.
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