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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance

Commissioner Ken Kobylowski

For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2014

For Further Information:
Ed Rogan or Marshall McKnight (609) 292-5064

Tips for Holiday Mishaps and Coverage Alerts
When Facing Winter Issues

TRENTONDepartment of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski today cautioned New Jerseyans to be aware of insurable hazards typical of holidays and to be on the lookout for possible insurance coverage gaps during the winter months. He encouraged consumers to review their policies and be aware of what might be covered and when extra insurance makes sense.

“Holiday activities, such as party hosting, travel and decorating are all aimed at bringing joy to gatherings of family and friends,” said Commissioner Kobylowski. “However, they might also produce unforeseen accidents. Consumers should review their policies, especially if planning to get out into the winter weather for fun or travel outside the country. Many holiday and winter risks are covered by standard homeowners and auto policies or health plans, while others may need more insurance.”

Homeowners and Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters should take a look at their homeowners or renters policies to understand the coverage they have for winter storm-related risks. Standard policies generally cover damage caused by falling trees and limbs, collapses caused by the weight of ice and snow or ice dam leakage. Consumers should also remember that deductibles will apply and understand what their contribution, such as a deductible, might be in the event of a loss.

Parties for the holidays are fun, but bring additional risk. Consumers should review liability limits and medical payment provisions in case a coworker attending a party at their home slips and falls on ice.

Theft of decorations or presents under the tree is typically covered by homeowners and renters standard policies. Jewelry and electronics may have special limits. Depending on the value of these items, additional coverage may be a good idea.

If you are hitting the slopes this winter, make sure skiing and snowboarding equipment is adequately covered. If the value of equipment exceeds limits, more coverage may be available for purchase.

Decorative lights and candles are key elements in generating holiday spirit. The additional fire risk they also produce is usually covered by standard policies. Coverage typically provides living expenses if the home cannot be occupied after a fire. Consumers should understand this coverage and make sure their limits are high enough to rebuild or repair their home damaged by fire. Both homeowners and renters should review their contents limits to make sure they are adequately protected if their possessions are damaged.

Auto Insurance

Before consumers get their presents home and wrapped, they could be stolen from the car by a burglar who smashes a car window or pries open a trunk. Damage to the car will be covered if the owner has comprehensive coverage, but any contents taken from the auto would be covered by a standard homeowners or renters policy.

Consumers who purchase snowmobiles should be aware that standard auto policies do not include them. When planning to buy a snowmobile, consumers should check with their insurance agent or company representative to determine coverage needs. If taking the snowmobile off their private property, consumers might want to maintain separate coverage and carry proof of insurance. Rented snowmobiles may provide an insurance option which may be worth purchasing.

Offering to use your vehicle to remove snow from a friend or neighbor’s property should be a covered activity if damage occurs. However, when engaging in commercial activity, such activity may be excluded by private passenger auto policies. Before engaging in this business, consumers may first want to purchase commercial insurance.

Health Insurance

Emergencies do sometimes happen when traveling out of state or out of the country during the holidays. Consumers should make sure they have insurance information for all family members, including identification cards and contact details. Before leaving, consumers should check with their health insurance carrier to verify what cost sharing obligations might be for emergency room visits outside their network and what coverage may be available if traveling outside the country. Health insurance may not cover emergency visits when traveling overseas.

Travel Insurance

Winter weather can close airports and delay or cancel flights. It happens in the United States and Europe every year. Travel insurance can help pay emergency medical bills, rental car damage and will cover expenses caused by delayed and cancelled airline flights as well as lost luggage when spending holidays and winter vacations overseas. Consumers should shop around for the travel insurance coverage that best fits their needs. It is widely available online, through travel agents and airline or cruise companies.

More Information

For additional information on insurance matters go to:

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