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Holiday Mishaps

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and hopefully that means you’ll make many happy memories this holiday season. However, Christmas mishaps can and do happen. If the Grinch steals your Christmas gifts or knocks over the Christmas tree and causes a fire, you’ll want to make sure you have the right insurance in place to help you recover from damage and loss.

Here are five crimes and mishaps that can happen in homes around Christmas and how your homeowners insurance can help.

Stolen gifts

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, American consumers plan to spend $588 on gifts for other this holiday season. That’s a lot of money to spend and presents to wrap, whether those gifts are under your tree at home or already delivered to someone as a gift.

Gifts or anything else stolen from your home should generally be covered by your home insurance policy. Your home insurance deductible, however, may make you think twice about filing an insurance claim. If your loss is smaller than your deductible, it won’t make much sense to file a claim. While a high deductible is an easy way to save money on insurance, it won’t help with smaller claims and puts you on the hook for smaller losses.

In case of a loss during the Christmas season, keep receipts for your gift purchases so you can show them to an insurance agent if the gifts are stolen and you need to prove how much they cost. You may also want to take photos of them.

Luckily, property crimes are dropping in America. Property crimes such as theft and burglary dropped in 2015, according to the FBI. Still, those crimes add up - the total value of reported stolen property was more than $12 billion.

Christmas tree fire

A Christmas tree catching fire in a home is rare, but if it does happen, it can be very dangerous. The National Fire Protection Association reports that about 0.12 percent of residential fires involve a Christmas tree.

However, Christmas trees don’t spontaneously combust, according to the National Christmas Tree Association and its holiday safety facts. Something else usually ignites first before catching fire to the Christmas tree — newspapers, magazines, boxes and curtains. Overloaded electric outlets and faulty wires are the most common causes of holiday fires.

Whatever the cause, if your Christmas tree or other holiday decorations causes a fire in your home, then a standard home insurance will cover the loss if your home is damaged or destroyed. Home insurance will also cover smoke damage or any other property damage from a Christmas tree fire.

Gifts or anything else destroyed in the fire would be covered by the personal belongings coverage portion of a home insurance policy. Your policy may also have coverage for the costs of living away from your home if a fire makes in uninhabitable.

Santa falls off your roof

Whether it’s Santa Claus or a Christmas light installer, if someone other than a resident of your home falls off your roof, they’ll likely be covered by the guest medical portion of a homeowners insurance policy.

If a professional worker is on your roof, the business they work for should have an insurance policy of its own or a worker’s compensation policy to cover the fall and injuries. If you fall of your own roof, you’ll need to use your own health insurance coverage and pay any deductibles or co-payments.

Slipping on your iced-over walkway

If your driveway or sidewalk is icy (or too cluttered with holiday decorations) and someone slips and sustains an injury, you could be sued for liability. In that case, the liability insurance on your home insurance policy will likely help protect you up to your liability limits. No-fault medical coverage through your home insurance can help pay their medical bills.

Typically, liability limits for homeowners insurance start at about $100,000, so you may want more if your home is worth more than that. If you have a lot of other assets — such as a lot of cash in a bank account or a lot of jewelry — then you may want to buy an umbrella policy for excess liability coverage or add a rider to help ensure you’ve got enough coverage for your situation.

Scrooge-like vandals

The inflatable snowman, Nativity scenes and other outdoor holiday decorations can be easy targets for vandals and thieves.

If someone breaks or steals your outdoor decorations, your homeowners insurance would likely cover the losses. But just like the stolen gifts listed in our first tip, a busted Rudolph or stolen baby Jesus would have to be worth the cost of your insurance deductible before making a claim is worthwhile.

Contact us

Hopefully yours will be a happy and safe holiday season, but if something goes wrong at home, having adequate homeowners insurance coverage in place can help. Look over your policy and limits and contact your insurance agent at any of our seven convenient locations if you have any questions. Happy holidays!

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