Unpredictable weather, at least in most parts of the country, is here. Suddenly, regular activities like driving and walking outdoors have become more hazardous. Whether you’re going about your daily tasks, celebrating the holiday season, or taking part in fun winter activities, here’s how to make sure you’re safe and protected.
Read the fine print:
With many types of insurance, there are exclusions for negligence or more costly/unusual damages. This can apply to many different situations from winter driving, to taking care of your home, to hosting friends for sledding in your backyard. The important thing is that you know when your insurance will kick in and when it won’t. You don’t want something to happen and then find out that your insurance policy won’t cover it because somewhere in the details it says “does not apply when…” Check with your insurance agent to be sure you understand all the specifics of your policy, and, if necessary, get extra coverage.
Protect yourself, your home and belongings:
Similarly, you have certain responsibilities as an owner to keep your home and belongings in good condition, and to use them safely and appropriately. If you’re not taking steps to maintain your property and belongings; or to stay safe while doing winter activities, there’s a good chance you’re operating outside the lines of what your insurance policy will cover. Here are a few things you can do:
At home: Keep walkways and driveways clear and be sure they are well lit. Make sure your home is properly winterized, and that you’re aware of any policy requirements for winter upkeep, so you don’t end up footing the bill for frozen pipes or other issues.
In your car: Always follow traffic laws and observe speed limits; keep your vehicle well-maintained, and drive slowly and with extra caution especially in harsh conditions.
While doing winter activities: Wear appropriate safety gear, follow posted guidelines and rules, and be sure to do a safety inspection of any winter equipment whether it’s a sled or a snowmobile before taking to the slopes.
In short: Know what’s required of you as an owner and follow the rules, so that when an accident does happen, you can rest assured that you’re safe.
If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions, you’ll definitely want to find out whether your home and auto insurance policies cover any and all weather-related damages. For example, some policies may exclude damage caused by hail and wind, or flooding. In these cases, you usually have the option to purchase a separate “rider” that can provide coverage you need.