9 Holiday Insurance Risks to Keep in Mind
Winter weather, a boost in commercial activity, and increased alcohol consumption are among the factors that contribute to these nine holiday insurance risks.
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 have a different outlook on the holidays. There's no way around it – 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.
Here are a few of the common risks you should look out for this time of year.
Presents All Around
Many families celebrate the holidays with gift-giving – and thieves know it. When Christmas rolls around, homes will have tons of expensive gifts lying around. From flat screen TVs to laptop computers and smartphones – there's a lot of money to be had in stealing Christmas gifts. These temptations present (no pun intended) a huge holiday insurance risk (Has Your Home Been Robbed or Vandalized? Here's What to Do First).
Slip and Slide
Slip-and-fall-related health and liability claims skyrocket around the holidays. The holidays occur in the winter, and that's when ice and snow accumulate. But a little less obviously, people tend to drink during the holidays. And there's a short distance between being tipsy and tipping over. With more people pouring a little "holiday cheer" into their glasses, the chances of slipping and falling increase drastically.
When the weather turns cold, the pipes in your home can be prone to freezing. When this happens, damages can add up quickly. It's enough to make insurance claims adjusters wish they would never have to hear about another freezing pipe by the end of December (learn more in 5 Winter Home Insurance Tips).
So Much Snow
A white blanket of snow can be lovely to look at and a lot of people dream of a white Christmas. But insurers could probably do without it.
When there's a huge snowfall, it can pile up quickly. Thick layers of snow accumulating on your roof could cause it to collapse, resulting in a lot of damage to your home. Those little snowflakes can turn into a huge holiday insurance risk.
Online shopping activity spikes during the holidays. That makes it an exciting time for families, retail business, and (unfortunately) hackers and thieves.
Cyber criminals double down on their attempts to hack websites and steal credit card information when there is this kind of increased number of transactions. In fact, that's why data breaches during Cyber Monday is one giant holiday insurance risk all by itself (but find out why cyber breach insurance is one of the 8 Types of Insurance Most Americans Should Avoid).
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. He's secretly had a crush on for years. And you can probably imagine what happens next…
We'll spare you 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. 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. First, there's the snow and winter weather making driving a bit trickier than usual. And while driving with alcohol in your system is illegal, it doesn't stop everyone from buckling up and turning the ignition after they've had a few at the Christmas party. Not to mention that people travel long distances on packed roads to visit friends and relatives (see Is Rental Car Insurance Worth It? if you're considering renting a car during the season). All these three combined means insurance offices are flooded with auto insurance claims.
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. The resulting 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.
Don't Let Your Holidays Get Ruined
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.