About the author: Lamar Watson, CFP®, is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor in the Washington, D.C. area, that works with clients virtually across the country. Lamar's work with his clients focuses on budgeting, employee benefits, paying down debt, buying their first home, and investing. Lamar is the Founder of Dream Financial Planning, a virtual financial planning firm specifically designed to help young professionals and minorities take control of their finances and fulfill their dreams. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we use the DREAM Financial Planning Process ™ to help our clients achieve their goals.
The season isn’t complete until you’ve watched your favorite holiday movie, right? And with the world continuing to social distance, it’s likely you’ll have some extra time on your hands this month to relax, unwind and enjoy some Christmas classics.
Let’s have a little fun this holiday season and imagine how an insurance company might handle a few Christmas movie mishaps. I've also included 2 PDFs below that can help you evaluate your insurance needs.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
There are plenty of mishaps the Griswold family faces around the holidays, but there’s one particularly damaging instance that stands out - at least from an insurance perspective. The Griswold family (well, let’s face it, Clark mostly) is excited to bring home their oversized Christmas tree. And while it makes a beautiful addition to the living room, included is an unwelcomed guest.
A squirrel pops out unexpectedly from the tree on a quiet evening, causing the family to panic, the dog to go wild, and chaos to ensue. Subsequently, the Griswold family home is left with some serious damages caused by the dog and squirrel alike. Would these damages be covered by their homeowners insurance policy?
The answer is - typically no. While every policy is different, most homeowners policies do not cover damage caused by rodents (yes, squirrels are rodents) or damage caused by pets including dogs and cats.
A Christmas Story
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”
And towards the end of “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie nearly does. Luckily, Ralphie doesn’t require medical attention after discharging the Red Ryder BB gun. But he does end up breaking his glasses. Would a replacement pair be covered by insurance?
The Affordable Care Act requires vision and dental care be provided for children through all health plans - whether offered through the Marketplace, an individual insurance market, or through an employer-sponsored plan.1 While there are exceptions for older plans with grandfathered status, the majority of health plans still offer this benefit.
Pediatric vision benefits typically include annual eye exams, corrective lenses (glasses and/or contacts), and vision screening. Depending on the requirements and limits of Ralphie’s health insurance coverage, a replacement pair of glasses very well could be covered - but that doesn’t exempt him from a mouth full of red soap.
The Santa Clause
Nothing’s more traumatizing than seeing Santa fall off the roof - just ask Charlie and Scott Calvin. As most of us remember, this Christmas classic continues with Scott putting on Santa’s suit, growing a beard and a belly, and eventually, moving to the North Pole. While we can presume the original Santa… ahem, kicked the candy cane… for insurance purposes, let’s assume instead he was gravely injured.
How would Scott Calvin’s homeowners insurance handle an injury on his property? These policies include liability coverage, which will typically protect homeowners like Scott from bodily injury lawsuits - if, say, Mrs. Clause wanted to pursue legal action. It’s possible his homeowners policy includes no-fault medical coverage as well, which would help pay the medical bills of the injured party if they were hurt on your property.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Instances of robbery and personal larceny increase by about 20 percent in the month of December.2 While it’s unclear whether or not that statistic includes data collected from Whoville, Cindy Lou Who and the rest of the village have plenty of reason to be wary this holiday season.
It’d be pretty remarkable if your household received a visit from the Grinch, but if a burglar does take the presents from under your tree - is the cost to replace them covered by insurance?
It’s likely that if property is stolen from your home (i.e. Christmas gifts from under the tree), your personal property coverage under your homeowners insurance will help cover the cost to replace them. In this instance, you’ll want to have receipts showing the value of the item (hopefully the Whos were organized). From there, your insurance company may send out a claims adjustor or use a formula to determine how much you will get back through your insurance claim.
From our family to yours, we hope you enjoyed reliving some cherished Christmas classics and their greatest mishaps. Here’s to wishing you a healthy, happy and Merry Christmas - and one free from squirrels and falling Santas!
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