As you prepare to ring in the New Year, don’t forget to add one more item on your to-do list: check your insurance policy to ensure you’re newly-acquired holiday gifts are covered.
To avoid unwanted surprises, understand that some gifts may come with a higher price tag on their insurance premiums, and some may not be covered at all.
AAA insurance experts provided a list of popular gift items that may impact insurance premiums or may be entirely excluded from coverage:
• Trampolines or hot tubs. Insurers view outdoor trampolines as a high risk for personal injury. Therefore, some providers may not offer you liability coverage if you or someone else is hurt using the equipment. Otherwise, you may expect to pay a higher monthly premium, making that one-time purchase a monthly budget-buster. Hot tubs and backyard equipment also pose a greater liability which may also impact your premiums.
• Certain breeds of dog. Dog bites are a common reason for emergency room visits, sending over 1,000 victims to the hospital every day across the country. Therefore, many insurers exclude certain breeds from homeowners’ policies, leaving owners financially responsible for dog bite injuries. Dogs with a prior bite history, regardless of breed, may also be excluded. If Santa left a puppy under the tree, check with your insurance agent to avoid unwanted surprises.
• Fine jewelry, electronics, art or collectibles. Luxury items are not commonly excluded from homeowners’ or renters’ policies, but they are only covered up to a certain value. For this reason, consider listing these items specifically on your policy, or purchase personal property insurance to protect the full value of the item.
During the holiday season and throughout the year, it is recommended that homeowners do the following to ensure adequate protection:
• Check before you buy. Talk to your agent before making a purchase that may require special coverage.
• Protect your family. If you already own an animal considered high risk, ensure that your liability protection includes your pet. If your insurance carrier won’t cover the breed, consider looking for a special insurance rider to ensure you’re protected.
• Protect your possessions. Protect your possessions from theft/loss by updating your coverage as soon as you make the purchase to include these and other valuable items such as jewelry, furniture, electronics, artwork, etc.
• Update your policy, if needed. If you’ve renovated your home, let your agent know. If you update your home without updating your policy, those changes are unlikely to be covered under your current policy.