Pennsylvania Insurance Department: Holiday Season and Homeowners Coverage Can Go Hand-in-Hand

Dec 13, 2010, 14:37 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Insurance

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvanians should review their homeowners insurance policies and take the necessary steps to prevent any holiday season mishaps or tragedies, acting Insurance Commissioner Robert L. Pratter said today.

"Insurance companies see insurance claims spike during the holiday season, but many losses and claims can be avoided if homeowners take certain precautions beforehand," Pratter said. "Take a few minutes to review your insurance policy coverage before your holiday celebration begins."

For example, consumers should check their insurance policies before hosting a party at which alcohol will be served. Though guests should practice responsible drinking at social gatherings, a host could be deemed negligent if a guest is involved in an alcohol-related incident after leaving a party.

Most policies provide some coverage for claims arising from injuries that may occur in a home, but not all policies cover the homeowner for liquor liability claims. It may, however, be possible to purchase coverage for special events such as a large holiday party.

"When hosting a party, make sure your insurance policy, and the insurance coverage of your caterer, carries enough liability coverage to meet the medical and legal expenses of your guests if they are injured at your home," Pratter added. "You can protect your guests from accidents by keeping your sidewalk and driveway free of ice and snow, and making sure your home is well-lit and in good repair. You can also consider additional liability coverage on your insurance policy, even if it's just temporary coverage for the holiday season."

Avoid hazards and mishaps by:

  • having fresh batteries in smoke detectors;
  • taking extra safety precautions when using space heaters;
  • keeping fresh-cut greens well watered;
  • never leaving burning candles unattended;
  • securing all extension cords, rugs and runners to avoid tripping hazards;
  • keeping flammable decorations away from burning candles and heat sources;
  • assuring that fireplaces are clean and well maintained, and that fires are fully extinguished when leaving the room;
  • properly securing doors and windows, particularly if wrapped packages are visible through the windows.

Consumers with questions about homeowners policies may use the Pennsylvania Insurance Department's toll-free hotline at 877-881-6388, visit the department's website at, or call regional offices in Harrisburg at 717-787-2317, or Philadelphia at 215-560-2630.

Media contacts: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance