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Review Your Policies Before You Brave the Snow Featured

Written by  John D. Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Thursday, 01 December 2016 15:34
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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.

Snow Removal
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.

Winter Activities
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, your homeowners or renters policy will provide coverage for your damaged equipment, up to a specific amount, if the damage is due to a covered cause. 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.

More Information
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

About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.

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