The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year. You take time away from work to relax. You spend time with close families and friends. You celebrate all the wonders the year has brought. It's magical.
Unless you're an insurance agent…
See, insurance agents see the holidays a little differently. They have to—claims come in at alarming rates during the holiday season. It's baffling, but it's true: there are numerous holiday insurance risks that spring up every single year.
What are the most common holiday insurance risks? Here are a few that you should pay attention to.
Presents All Around
Many families in the United States celebrate the holidays with gift giving. Christmas is the most popular of all these holidays. When Christmas rolls around, thieves know that homes will have tons of expensive gifts lying around (find out whether you Need Proof of Purchase for Stolen Items to File a Burglary Insurance Claim). From flat screen TVs to laptop computers and smartphones—there's a lot of money to be found in by stealing Christmas gifts (Has Your Home Been Robbed or Vandalized? Here's What to Do First). This presents a huge holiday insurance risk.
Slip and Slide
Slip- and fall-related health and liability claims skyrocket around the holidays. First, the holidays occur in the winter, and that's when ice and snow accumulate. Next, people tend to drink during the holidays, which increases the chance of slipping and falling drastically.
When the weather goes cold, the pipes in your home can be prone to freezing (find out more in 5 Winter Home Insurance Tips). When this happens, damages can add up quickly. Insurance claims adjusters have to be weary of freezing pipes during the winter months.
So Much Snow
Snow can be a problem from an insurance standpoint. When there's a huge snowfall, it can pile up quickly. Snow accumulating on your roof could cause it to collapse, resulting in a lot of damage to your home. As such, snow is a huge holiday insurance risk—especially when it's heavy.
Hackers and thieves know that people shop online during the holidays more than any other time of the year. So we can expect them to up their attempts to hack websites and steal credit card information (but find out why cyber breach insurance is one of the 8 Types of Insurance Most Americans Should Avoid). Data breaches during Cyber Monday is one giant holiday insurance risk all by itself.
Holiday Party Harassment
Joe has been drinking. A lot. After all, it's the company holiday party. He's three sheets to the wind and his usual professional demeanor is gone. He feels like he's back in his frat days. So he wanders over to Sally, whom he's secretly had a crush on for years. And you can probably imagine what happens next…
Let's spare everyone the details. But when the morning comes around, Joe is out of a job, and Sally has called her lawyer about filing a sexual harassment suit against the company (see Insurance and Lawsuits: What Happens When You Are Sued? to find out some of the first steps that Joe and the company will have to take). While agents love company holiday parties just as much as you do, they pose a unique holiday insurance risk (read A Look at Uninsurable Risk to learn a bit about the history of insurance coverage for sexual harassment).
The holidays bring a mix of problems on the road. And when problems hit the road, the auto accidents start to add up (be prepared in case this happens to you—familiarize yourself with The First Steps You Need to Take After Wrecking Your Car). During the holidays, there is a lot of snow and winter weather—it's just that time of the year. There's also a lot of drinking. People drink to celebrate with family and friends. Or they drink so they can make it through the holidays. Plus, people often travel long distances in their car during the holidays and roads are often packed (see Is Rental Car Insurance Worth It? if you're considering renting a car to visit relatives during the season). The combination of these three things add up to a huge holiday insurance risk.
Toy and Gift Recalls
All the gifts purchased during the holidays puts manufacturers under a lot of stress. They have to pump out as much inventory as possible. Meeting demand is a must. Unfortunately, this means corners can get cut. Toy and gift recalls can pose an insurance risk during the holidays. If one toy causes harm to a child or family, then a recall is imminent, and that costs a lot of cash. Plus, there are the insurance claims and lawsuits that must be handled.
Last, but not least: business owners know employee theft tends to skyrocket during the holidays. This poses a holiday insurance risk, too. Business owners have to be cognizant of employee actions during the holidays to avoid this risk (they may also purchase Employee Dishonesty Coverage along with the rest of the 5 Types of Crime Insurance Policies Businesses Should Consider). It's paramount to understand who works for you and identify which employees may be desperate to provide a nice holiday season for their families—no matter the costs.
Enjoy Your Holidays Intelligently
Be smart around the holidays. There are a lot of holiday insurance risks to think about. With a few precautions here and there, you’ll be able to enjoy your time with family and friends worry-free.