As the temperature drops and seasons change, we spend more time with family and friends, snuggled up at home watching Netflix, or drinking hot cocoa hunkered down with a good book. We look forward to bundling up in sweaters, building snowmen, and taking a moment to appreciate the change in nature.
While the aforementioned aspects of the winter probably bring a smile to your face, there’s another element that’s just as important as building family and community ties: protecting your property in case an unexpected storm or other disaster strikes.
Winter is a crucial insurance season. Weather-related damage often occurs in the coldest months – you can thank those beautiful snow and ice storms, as well as less-than-pleasant hail. Insurance is one of those things that needs to be thought of ahead of time.
All too often, people are caught unprepared after damage occurs without the proper coverage. Review your insurance coverage for all your motorized vehicles when the winter months approach. If you do not, you may be left with unexpected and unforeseen expenses.
Car Insurance Coverage
Take a close look at your car insurance policy as winter approaches. Think about what new risks occur during the winter months and if changes in coverage are necessary.
· Do you have a vehicle you do not drive in the winter months? It could save you hundreds of dollars to reduce coverage on a parked vehicle during wintertime. Lowering the coverage to comprehensive only will protect your vehicle against things that can happen to it while sitting, such as storm damage, fire, theft, and vandalism, without needing to pay for driving coverage while it’s in storage.
· On the flip side, if you’ll be driving during the winter, consider increasing your coverage by adding comprehensive and/or collision coverage. Determine your risk level during each season. Summertime might bring less risk, so reducing coverage makes sense. In the winter, risk levels often rise. The snow is slippery, there is less daylight which means less visibility, and you might be traveling to visit relatives who live in unfamiliar places putting you more at risk. It might be time to add on more coverage. Comprehensive will protect you against storm damage and collision will protect you against physical damage after sliding on ice.
Consider roadside assistance if you do not already have it. Roadside assistance can be convenient in the winter months. Slide-offs can sometimes be unavoidable even in four-wheel-drive SUVs. Being stuck in the ditch is never good, and having roadside assistance can bring you extra peace of mind. You can avoid big tow bills by purchasing inexpensive roadside assistance coverage on your auto policy.
What do you do with your motorcycle in the wintertime? If you live in a cold climate, you have options depending on what your particular insurance carrier offers. The most important thing to remember when changing your motorcycle insurance coverage over the winter months is to make sure to change it back when spring fever hits. And, don’t drop your coverage during the winter – it’s never a good idea to leave your vehicle vulnerable, even if it is technically legal to do so.
- Consider raising your deductibles. Because your motorcycle is being driven minimally if at all, your risk of damage is minimal. Increasing your motorcycle deductibles in the winter months will save you a lot of money.
- Remove medical coverage while you are not riding. Medical coverage on motorcycles is important, but if you are not riding for a few months, definitely remove this coverage.
- If you aren’t driving during the winter, reduce coverage to comprehensive only. Putting your motorcycle in storage for the winter means the only coverage you genuinely need is comprehensive. Quite a few insurance carriers no longer offer this option, but you will be able to find one that does if you look hard enough.
- If you carry liability only on your motorcycle during the summer months, canceling your motorcycle insurance policy while you are not riding in the winter is a viable option.
Boat Insurance and RV Insurance
When the lakes freeze over, your boat is probably parked in the garage. Your RV probably is not seeing much action either. Do you still need to keep paying for boat insurance or RV insurance? If you are concerned about fire or theft, you should keep your boat and RV insurance in place. If you have a loss payee on your toy, you will also need to keep the insurance policy in force. Unless your toy is scheduled on your homeowner’s policy, your home insurance policy will not cover toys.
The vehicles which take on more risk in the wintertime could have their deductibles lowered and or coverage increased. Meanwhile, your toys which have lowered risk in the wintertime should have deductibles increased and or coverage reduced. Saving money on car insurance in the winter is possible. Think smart and consider your risks. True you do not know what will happen in the future, but you can make an educated guess which could save you big.