It took a while for winter weather to get to Oklahoma. And while this season can make
for some postcard-type scenery, it can also present some hazards. That’s why it’s
important to know what your insurance will cover this winter season.
At Your Home
Winter storms in Oklahoma have been known to cause major destruction. Some
homeowners policies will cover damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other
falling objects, and the collapse of a structure due to weight of ice or snow. Damage done
by frozen pipes can also be covered provided you took proper measures to prevent the
pipes from freezing. For example, many policies state that coverage applies if you can
show that you kept your home heated to a reasonable temperature, insulated exposed
pipes or ran your faucets at a trickle. Call your insurance agent or company for
clarification with specific questions.
A homeowners or renters policy could cover liability for injuries if someone other than a
family member slips and falls on your property. However, your insurance company
expects you to limit the dangers around your home. This means clearing snow and ice
from walkways and sidewalks in a reasonable amount of time after a winter storm.
Your city’s snow-removal laws may also play a part in what the insurance company
requires as due diligence. Check the ordinances in your area to see what rules apply.
Behind the Wheel
Driving in Oklahoma’s winter weather can be downright dangerous. If you are in an auto
accident and found to be at fault, your liability insurance will cover the damages caused
to another person’s property. However, damage to your vehicle in an accident where you
were found at fault would be covered under the collision portion of your policy. The
optional comprehensive coverage would cover the physical damage to a car caused by
heavy winds, fallen ice or tree limbs. Make sure you have adequate coverage.
If you’re ready to jump on a lift to take your skis down your favorite slope, check your
homeowners or renters policy, as well as your health insurance, to ensure you know what
to do in case of an accident or a loss.
Generally, equipment you own will be covered, up to a specific amount by your
homeowners or renters policy, if the damage is due to a covered cause loss. Check the
limit in your policy and decide if that will be enough to replace damaged or stolen
equipment. Remember to factor in your deductible. If you think you need more coverage,
talk to your insurance agent.
If you are skiing or snowboarding and you have an accident, an air ambulance ride could
be very costly. Many insurers will pay what they deem reasonable use of an air
ambulance; however, sometimes the air ambulance company and the insurer disagree on
the cost leaving you responsible for the remainder of the bill. Find out if your health
insurance has air ambulance coverage, and find out which air ambulance companies are
in network with your insurance carrier.
If you are out of town without access to your doctor or local health care center, review
your emergency medical treatment requirements:
- Are you required to seek medical treatment at a certain hospital or urgent care
center that is in your network?
- Will you have a copay?
- If you need to fill a prescription, do you have to go to a certain pharmacy?
Make a list of these details and carry your insurance card when you travel.
Many winter activities come with increased risk. Speaking with your agent or insurer is a
good way to understand your coverage. If you have additional questions about your
insurance needs for winter, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.ok.gov.