By John D. Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which includes the fast-paced, holiday shopping season. As those hard-earned dollars start dropping for the perfect gifts on your Christmas list this year, remember the importance of protecting your investments. Whether your next purchase is a big-ticket item or a simple stocking stuffer, take some time to review the coverage on your insurance policies and consider the following tips to help safeguard your purchases.
Find out what your insurance policy already covers:
Many times, in an effort to make the most of precious hours during the day, holiday shoppers attempt to hit several stores during one trip. This often includes traveling from store to store with gifts in their vehicle. It’s important to find out what items are covered under your auto, homeowners or renter’s policy, including if there are exceptions. Your insurance usually protects against theft or damage, though there may be stipulations about what is covered. When the store cashier asks you if you would like the receipt in the bag or with you, request to take the receipt with you. This will make it easier and faster to prove you purchased the items in the event anything is stolen.
Know the stipulations of your policy:
Ask your agent about coverage amount limits to make sure your new purchases don’t exceed your policy threshold. Certain valuables might be better covered with an insurance rider or additional policy, depending on the circumstances. Understanding the possible outcomes should you have to make a claim will be extremely helpful in making the best choice.
Consider renter’s insurance:
If you are a renter and don’t have renter’s insurance, you might consider this kind of protection. Although your landlord should have insurance for structural damage to the building, this coverage does not extend to your personal property. Renter’s insurance is often very affordable and will be a huge benefit should something happen to your property.
Understand the difference between insurance and warranties:
Extended warranty sales pitches are a recognizable part of the holiday shopping tradition. Keep in mind that a warranty is not insurance and does not cover damage in the way a homeowners or renter’s policy might. A manufacturer’s warranty offers a certain kind of guarantee to the quality or performance of an item for a specified time period.
Update your home inventory:
Certain times of the year afford great opportunities to update your home inventory and the holiday season is no exception. The home inventory should include a list of electronics and other valuable household items with model numbers and receipts. As you buy, give away or sell belongings over time, your coverage needs can change. Checking your inventory regularly can help you save money or avoid being under-insured. A home inventory can also help when filing a claim after a loss. You can download or print a free home inventory kit on our website, www.oid.ok.gov.
Be safe this holiday season and protect your gift purchases by understanding your insurance policies. If you have any questions, the Oklahoma Insurance Department is happy to help. Just call our Consumer Assistance Team at 1-800-522-0071.