Consumer Advisory: Winter mishaps and your insurance
Tips from the Colorado Division of Insurance on reviewing your policies to make sure you're covered.
DENVER (Feb. 1, 2016) – It may not be the storm of the century, but this latest snowstorm in Colorado reminds us that there is more cold and snow to come this year. And cold weather brings different risks that could have an impact on your insurance coverage.The Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), encourages you to Take Five minutes to review your insurance coverage. Remember, it’s Colorado and the cold weather will stick around until May.
1. Slippery driving - Are you clear about your auto insurance and what to do if you’re in an accident?
Winter weather can be a challenge for all drivers. Before the next storm turns the roads into a skating rink, check your auto policy coverage to confirm it's appropriate for your needs. A new luxury vehicle will require a different level of coverage than an older car. You should also check your liability limits to make sure you have adequate protection against injury or damage if you cause an accident.
Be sure you know what to do if you get in a wreck. Always keep a copy of your insurance card and your insurance provider's contact information in the car. To take the stress out of filing a claim after an accident, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC - to which the DOI belongs) created WRECKCHECK, a free smartphone app that walks you through the process of gathering information following an accident. You can then email the report directly to your insurance agent. WRECKCHECK is available on iOS and Android devices. There is also a PDF version available for download.
2. Snowy problems - Will your homeowners or renter’s insurance cover winter accidents?
If someone slips and falls on your icy driveway, your homeowners policy will pay for some medical expenses, but ask your insurance provider if you have adequate liability limits. A standard homeowners policy will also provide coverage, subject to your deductible, if your home suffers damage during a winter storm or a house fire. Some policies offer additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home during repairs. Check with your insurance provider to determine what your policy covers.
As we’re still early in the new year, it’s a great time to create or update your home inventory. This will help you make sure your homeowners or renter's policy provides enough coverage for your belongings, as you may need a separate rider for high-cost items like jewelry, art or electronics. The NAIC's free smartphone app, myHOME Scr.APP.book, makes the process of creating a home inventory quick and easy. You can download the app on iTunes and Google Play, or you can download a PDF version. Include as much information about your items as you can, such as receipts, photos and serial numbers.
3. Zooming through the snow - Do you need separate coverage for winter fun or travel?
Before you hit the slopes or take out the snowmobile, check your homeowners or renter's policy. Generally, lost or stolen ski equipment that you own is covered by your homeowners or renter's policy. On the other hand, snowmobiles are not covered by homeowners, renter's or auto policies. Ask your insurance agent if you need more coverage on your sporting equipment or need to purchase a separate snowmobile policy. And be sure to have your health insurance information with you when doing winter sports.
A warm weather escape is how some survive the chill of winter. Regardless of where you're going, winter travel can be uncertain. Delays or cancellations are inevitable. You may want to consider travel insurance, which can cover everything from lost luggage to delays and cancellations. You can find more information on DOI’s Travel Insurance web page.
The Colorado Division of Insurance is the place to get answers to your insurance questions. The DOI is a consumer resource where insurance experts can provide easy-to-understand information. Call 303.894.7490 or 1.800.930.3745 (outside the Denver metro area) or visit dora.colorado.gov/insurance.
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit dora.colorado.gov/insurance for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745. DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675.