Five romantic gestures that your insurance company won’t love
Cupid’s arrows may land in hurtful places on Valentine’s Day or any other day if your romantic gestures backfire. Giving your loved one allergy-inducing candy or losing your luggage on the way to a romantic getaway can lead to less-than-romantic results.
Be aware of these five insurance scenarios that could leave you feeling anything but love.
1. You give your girlfriend an expensive ring. She doesn’t insure it, then loses it.
Getting reimbursed in this situation depends on whether the boyfriend has a home or renter’s insurance policy with an allowance for private possessions, says Tami Chartier, insurance adviser at Farmer Leavitt Insurance Agency in Phoenix. Most allowances are only $1,500 to $2,000. Furthermore, some insurers don’t cover “mysterious disappearances” of rings, Chartier says.
If the lovebirds don’t live together, the girlfriend’s insurance can cover the ring. “Most times, the boyfriend’s carrier will insure it regardless of whether or not she lives with him,” Chartier says.
The ring should be insured for its appraised value. Coverage for a $3,000 ring would cost an extra $30 to $39 a year, based on Chartier’s estimate. Most insurers add that coverage to your regular home insurance policy, although some may write a separate policy, Chartier says.
2. You give your boyfriend candy with peanuts. He’s allergic to them, becomes ill and sues you.
Whether you’re covered depends on your home or renter’s insurance. “Most carriers will defend you against the lawsuit under your personal liability coverage,” Chartier says.
Chartier recommends $500,000 in personal liability coverage and an extra layer of liability protection known as a “personal umbrella,” which gives you a minimum of $1 million of coverage, she says. “If you don’t have coverage, you’ll need to hire a good attorney if you’re sued,” Chartier says.
3. You and your fiancé decide to take dancing lessons together. He falls and breaks his ankle during class. Who pays?
If the accident occurred in the dance studio, it’s considered both a liability issue and a medical issue, says Kevin Lynch, assistant professor of insurance at The American College in Pennsylvania.
“The studio likely had the client sign a release before the lessons began, so technically, that would end the liability issue for the studio,” Lynch says. However, the studio still could be held liable in court if the studio was “grossly negligent,” he says.
As for the health insurance aspect, the dancer with the broken leg would be responsible for covering the medical bills, Lynch says. “Your health insurance would cover medical treatment, just as it would for falling on ice or being in a car accident,” he says.
What if the ill-fated dance lesson took place at someone’s home? The host’s home or renter’s insurance should cover treatment of the injury, Lynch says.
4. You go on a romantic vacation to the Caribbean and someone swipes your bags.
Typically, this would fall under the personal property coverage in your home or renter’s policy, Chartier says. The personal contents limit is a percentage of your home’s value on a home insurance policy, usually 50 percent to 75 percent. You can bump up the coverage for a small increase in your premium.
If you don’t have coverage, check into travel insurance. Companies such as Travel Guard cover lost luggage as part of a travel insurance bundle.
“You won’t find baggage insurance on its own,” says Carol Mueller, vice president of Travel Guard. “It’s usually included as part of a package that covers you for lost luggage and personal effects.”
Aside from lost luggage and belongs, a travel insurance policy includes reimbursement for, say, a trip that’s canceled because of a death in the family or a trip that’s shortened by a severe case of the stomach flu.
For about 6 percent of the cost of your trip, a Travel Guard plan, for example, covers baggage delay ($300 worth of coverage) and lost baggage and belongings ($1,000 worth of coverage).
“This enables you to buy a replacement bathing suit instead of waiting for your bags,” Mueller says.
5. You let your girlfriend borrow your car for a day of shopping, and she crashes it into another car.
If the boyfriend’s auto insurance policy includes optional collision coverage, your insurer will pay for the damage, but you’ll be responsible for paying a deductible, says Kevin Foley, owner of PFT&K Insurance Brokers in Milltown, N.J. Your auto insurance policy covers any relatives living with you, such as your brother, and anyone you let use your vehicle, such as your girlfriend.
If the boyfriend’s auto insurance policy doesn’t contain collision coverage, he’s out of luck — and money.