Our Miami insurance claims attorney provides some important tips for avoiding Holiday insurance claim disasters and protecting your home and your possessions.

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

When holiday season approaches, Florida homeowners are busy preparing for family celebrations.  Most people do not anticipate a pattern of unmitigated disasters like those played for laughs in the Chevy Chase movie Christmas Vacation.  Admittedly, the string of bad luck that overwhelmed the Griswold family is unlikely, but certain holiday mishaps can cause devastating property damage to homes and the personal belongings inside a residence.  Typically, homeowners do not expect a fire from an overloaded power strip used for Christmas lights or a burglary committed by the Grinch who steals all the gifts under the tree.  This blog post provides an overview of some of the types of property damage claims that might arise from holiday disasters.  Part II of this blog post discusses precautions to prevent fire loss caused by holiday type risks.

Grinch Steals Your Presents from under the Christmas Tree: Homeowners’ policies cover personal property in the home that is stolen or damaged by vandals.  However, coverage for items inside the home can be subject to special policy limits.  Family members who plan to wrap up large amounts of cash or jewelry need to be aware that most policies limit the amount of coverage for these types of high ticket items unless an endorsement for additional coverage is purchased.  Typically, homeowners’ policies includes coverage for personal property up to an amount equal to 50 to 70 percent of the policy limits for the dwelling.  If your home is filled with expensive furniture, decorative items, art, and other valuable items, you need to review your coverage to assess whether you have sufficient coverage for personal property.  Depending on your situation, the decision to purchase more coverage for personal property, including high value items subject to policy sub-limits might be a prudent choice.

The Wiring in Your Outdoor Light Display That Can Be Seen from Space Causes Your Landscaping to Ignite: Coverage for landscaping in your front or backyard like shrubs, trees, and bushes involves a good news-bad news proposition.  Although most policies provide coverage when a fire damages your landscaping, the amount of the coverage is negligible.  While the amount of coverage for trees, plants, and other landscaping coverage will depend on the policy, most policies cap such coverage to a mere five percent of your dwelling coverage with an additional limit of up to $500 per item according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)

Grandpa Decides Turkey Grease Can Be Rinsed Down the Drain Causing a Sewer Backup: While there are many ways that the sewer in your home can backup, most policies do not provide coverage for sewer backups despite the cause of the problem.  Homeowners can purchase this coverage for an additional premium that amounts to about $50 per year according to the I.I.I.

Presents Santa Will Be Delivering Christmas Morning Disappear from the Back of Your Vehicle:

This type of loss might be covered depending on factors that include the value of the item and whether you elected to obtain off-premises coverage for personal property.  Theft of personal items that occurs away from your home should generally be covered unless you opted not to take this coverage.  The I.I.I. reports that such coverage tends to be limited to ten percent of the value of your coverage for personal property.  Sub-limits for certain specified high dollar items also must be reviewed to determine if a floater or endorsement is appropriate.

If you have questions about an insurance claim, you are invited to contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Miami insurance claims attorney.  My law firm specializes in representing policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. Click here to read about some of our case results.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM. 

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