LDI offers holiday and extreme winter weather tips for policyholders

Published 4:10 pm Saturday, December 24, 2022

 

The holiday season and extreme winter weather can bring about insurance concerns you may not have considered. The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) offers guidance to lessen the impacts these conditions can have on your coverages and considerations for filing a claim.

Holiday Season Concerns

  • Your homeowners or renters policy can protect you against common holiday debacles. Your policy may pay for some medical expenses if someone has an accident at your holiday gathering or slips and falls on your icy driveway. Check with your agent to find out if you have adequate liability limits.
  • When traveling for the holidays, review your health insurance policy for in-network providers covered in your destination city, such as doctors, pharmacies, urgent care centers and hospitals. If you visit an out-of-network provider expect to pay more for treatment and medications.
  • Before you leave home, make sure you have proof of auto insurance and adequate coverage against damage or injury if you are responsible for an accident.
  • Protect yourself from vehicle theft and burglary by locking your doors, parking in well-lit areas, keeping valuables out of sight and never leaving the engine running unattended. Most standard homeowners and rental insurance policies provide coverage for items stolen from an auto break-in, however you will be responsible for paying any deductibles. Some auto policies may also provide coverage, so check with your agent to find out under which policy you should file a claim.

Winter Weather Concerns

  • Protect yourself and your home during extreme weather:
    • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove or space heater.
    • Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets instead of using an extension cord.
    • Never use an oven or stove-top burner to heat your home.
    • Take measures to insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip to help prevent frozen pipes.
  • If your home suffers damage due to extreme winter weather, such as water damage from a busted pipe or fire damage from a faulty heater:
    • Call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible to report the damage and file your claim.
    • Check with your insurance provider to determine what your policy covers and the amount of your deductible. Most standard homeowners policies will provide coverage as long as the damage is not due to neglect.
    • Take photos or video of the damage before making any temporary repairs and save receipts for materials. Do not make any permanent repairs until an adjuster has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement with the company on the cost of repairs.
  • If your home is damaged to the extent you cannot stay there, read your homeowners policy or contact your agent to see if you have coverage for additional living expenses.
  • Preparing your vehicle and driving in extreme winter weather conditions:
    • Perform maintenance checks on the battery, antifreeze and wiper fluid levels, heater, brakes, defroster, tire treads and air pressure.
    • Keep a windshield scraper on-hand to remove ice and maintain at least a half tank of gas.
    • Prepare a winter supply kit for your vehicle with flashlight, first-aid supplies, blankets, lighters, extra cold weather clothing, non-perishable snacks and bottled water.

Prepare in advance for winter weather and stay safe. If you have questions about an insurance policy or have issues with an insurance claim, contact the LDI at 800-259-5300 or find more information online at www.ldi.la.gov.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance works to improve competition in the state’s insurance market while assisting individuals and businesses with the information and resources they need to be informed consumers of insurance. As a regulator, the LDI enforces the laws that provide a fair and stable marketplace and makes certain that insurers comply with the laws in place to protect policyholders. You can contact the LDI by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting www.ldi.la.gov.