Insurance policies are necessarily complex, containing precise and industry-specific language that can make it challenging for lay people to decipher exactly what is meant. While you should always understand what is and is not covered by an insurance policy before you subscribe, there are certain exceptional circumstances under which you may be able to make a claim without realizing it. These situations apply to common policies including homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and auto insurance.
Let’s take a closer look at some scenarios in which you may be entitled to claim insurance you “didn’t know you had.”
Scenario #1: Waterbeds
Granted, waterbeds have fallen out of vogue in recent years, but if you have one and it bursts, your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy may cover the damages. While this type of coverage is sometimes included in a policy, you may have to request it (for a small additional cost). If you’ve got a waterbed, you should be sure you have this coverage: it will get you off the hook for damage caused to your home or apartment, as well as any damage to neighbouring properties, so long as you did not cause the waterbed to rupture intentionally.
Scenario #2: Massage Therapy
If you carry your own supplemental health insurance, or if you’re covered under a company policy, pay close attention to the wording when it comes to items like “alternative therapies” or “chiropractic care.” Some companies include massage therapy under the umbrella of chiropractic care, while “alternative therapies” likely include massage and other homeopathic treatments.
Scenario #3: Damage Caused by Children
Again, your homeowners insurance may come to the rescue if your child accidentally damaged your property, or the property of a neighbour. Most policies have provisions covering unintentional acts, so if your child accidentally smashes your window or your neighbour’s window with an errant slapshot, the insurance company may cover the cost of the repairs.
Scenario #4: Party Guests
It’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and your best friend’s team has a chance to win it all. He comes over to your house, drinks heavily, and sees his team lose in overtime. In a drunken stupor, and without your knowledge, he leaves your house, drives home, and causes serious injuries or major property damage along the way.
Your homeowners insurance contains “general liability” clauses that ensure that you cannot be held responsible for this behaviour, despite having hosted the party. However, you need to make sure you didn’t knowingly contribute to the injury- or damage-causing incident by serving alcohol to an intoxicated guest or giving drinks to someone underage.
Scenario #5: Stolen Christmas Presents
If your car insurance policy doesn’t cover you for vehicle contents, you may still be entitled to a claim if someone broke into your vehicle and stole your Christmas presents. Why? Because Christmas presents are considered personal possessions, and are thus protected by renters insurance or homeowners insurance. You can file a claim under those policies, rather than your auto insurance policy.
Scenario #8: Dorm Room Theft
If you’re a college or university student living in a dorm, or if you’re the parent of a student who lives in a dorm, you should know that homeowners insurance policies cover dependents (i.e. children) from property damage and theft, even if they live elsewhere. However, you should be aware that such coverage generally will not extend to digital assets, so if you have a valuable iTunes collection or have paid for an impressive library of movies or TV shows, you should always back these up online to ensure they’re protected from loss.
Any Other Insurance Questions?
At Lane’s Insurance we work with a number of Alberta providers to offer our clients the very best protection from unforeseen events. If you have any questions about the coverage provided by your existing policies, or if you’re in the market for new or expanded coverage, please contact usand we’ll be happy to help.