Holiday Hosting Mishaps: Does Your Insurance Cover You?
What happens if someone slips on your steps — or crashes your car? Are you covered?
Before your holiday guests start ringing your doorbell, it might be a good idea to review your home and car insurance policies. You’ll want to make sure you’re covered in case one of your visitors suffers — or causes — an unfortunate holiday disaster.
Of course your loved ones and friends are safety-conscious and polite. Still, accidents like the four that follow do happen. For fun, we’ll use the affable Clark Griswold from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” as the clumsy relative at the center of it all.
On the way to your front door, Uncle Clark is carrying so many packages he misses a step and falls, breaking his hip. Are his medical expenses covered by your insurance?
Standard homeowner’s insurance covers medical costs for accidents that happen to guests in your home if they need immediate medical attention. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) advises checking your liability coverage though, in case a relative like Uncle Clark decides to sue you.
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Uncle Clark tries to create ambiance by lighting candles in the living room, then falls asleep on the couch. While he dozes, the flames ignite a nearby curtain, starting a fire. Luckily, you have a fire extinguisher close by and everyone in the house gets out safely. But your home is damaged from the fire and smoke.
Are you covered? According to the NAIC, even if a guest accidentally started the fire, standard homeowner insurance will cover it.
A car crash
Uncle Clark feels bad about the fire, so he borrows your car to go to the store to pick up a pie as a peace offering. He takes a wrong turn while trying to follow a detour and crashes into a float in the town’s Christmas parade. Are you covered?
Yes, says the NAIC. But since someone else was driving your car, your insurance company is on the line for damages. Uncle Clark’s car insurance might — or might not — provide coverage. Some car insurance policies don’t extend to driving someone else’s vehicle.
Uncle Clark’s teenage daughter is also visiting. She has a reputation for having sticky fingers, so when you notice your diamond earrings are missing, you suspect her but you can’t prove she’s the thief. Are you covered for a theft that may have taken place right under your nose?
Homeowners insurance will reimburse you for the financial worth of your personal belongings or replace them entirely up to the amount of your deductible limits, whether they’re stolen from inside or outside your house, according to the NAIC.
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