After determining that everyone is safe and getting the claims process started, there are some claims submissions that can give an agent a belly laugh once he or she gets off the phone.
Here are some comical examples of winter-season claims:
No. 1: A very hungry pup. A hungry, nosey pup once got into 12 mince pies—and he even ate the aluminum foil! Luckily, the dog was OK, but his owner accrued a hefty bill from the veterinarian. Fortunately, her homeowners policy was able to help her out: It covered the vet bill, and even the dog’s prescriptions. As pet owners know, dogs love to lead with their noses, and eat whatever smells delicious.
The lesson: This holiday season, keep an eye on your furry family—they don’t know what they’re in for if they eat something that potentially could be unsafe.
No. 2: A Santa impostor. One homeowner woke up to find sooty footprints on the white carpet in front of the fireplace. Unfortunately, the little prints didn’t belong to Santa, one of his elves, or a reindeer. But, they did belong to a squirrel. The little guy found his way down the chimney! The homeowner quickly called her agent and filed a claim for the damages.
The lesson: Unfortunately, a standard homeowners policy doesn’t cover damage from invading rodents (which includes squirrels) because insurance carriers consider it a preventable occurrence—so be sure that you are scheduling regular maintenance for your chimney to ensure that these little guys can’t come sniff around.
No. 3: Santa’s stolen sleigh. One time, a businessowner in Connecticut filed a claim with his insurance company with his agent because Santa’s sleigh had been stolen. In actuality, Santa’s sleigh was a display at his gift shop. A believer could hope that the thief was the jolly man himself—but if Santa did need a policy for his sleigh, some of the questions he and his insurance agent would answer include: “How much coverage would Santa’s sleigh have?” “Would it fall under a personal auto policy or a commercial auto policy?” “Since it flies, could it even be covered by standard insurance?”
The lesson: No matter what, if your home or business suffers a loss at the hands of thieves, your agent can help you file a claim and determine how your policy can help you.
No. 4: Snowless Swiss slopes. An avid skier booked a trip to the best place to ride the slopes: the Swiss Alps. Before her trip that winter, she purchased a pair of new skis. But to her horror, when she arrived in Switzerland, she discovered a stark absence of snow. Switzerland was in its warmer season. Disappointed, she called her agent—the skis were expensive, and what was she going to do with them without any snow? So, she filed a claim under her travel insurance policy.
The lesson: Travel insurance covers copious mishaps of which every traveler becomes subjected the moment he or she leaves home, including canceled flights, lost luggage, injury or sickness that happens abroad that domestic health insurance policies don’t cover, trip interruption or unused, nonrefundable portions of the trip. Before you leave on a trip, call your agent to discuss adding a travel policy to your coverages. And, you might consider taking a closer look at your destination before you arrive.
No. 5: Fraud Hall of Shame: After an attorney bought a case of fancy cigars, he had them insured. After spending the holidays with his family and friends, he filed a claim with his agent, stating that the cigars had been damaged by a series of “small fires.” It was clear that the attorney was attempting to commit fraud and the carrier elected not to cover the loss. However, a judge later ruled that it would have to cover the “damage”—because the carrier didn’t clarify what constituted a small fire in the attorney’s policy.
The lesson: Review your policies with us—if it’s unclear what certain coverages mean, or if you need specific coverage for your personal belongings that a standard homeowners policy wouldn’t cover, we can help you ensure that you understand the specifics of your property coverage. Additionally, for your more expensive belongings, we can discuss endorsements that would provide extra coverage.
These claims may be funny to read, but they provide useful insight into how you can prepare for winter, and how your insurance policies can save you if and when an accident occurs. We want what’s best for you—because you’re the best.
Happy holidays from us, to you and yours.
Alexandra Chouinard has editing, writing, advertising and publishing experience from her Alma Mater, Loyola University, where she earned a dual Bachelor of Arts Degree in Writing and Communication.