How to survive the holidays ... with insurance

Written on 11/28/2023
Alan T. Girton

The holidays. Even the words themselves conjure up images of family and friends gathered, delicious smells that filled entire homes, and sounds of laughter bouncing off walls.

Surely, nothing can go wrong at such a joyous time, can it?

A quick online search found that the most common holiday accidents are fall-related injuries, while decorating, toy-related injuries, fires associated with decorations, strained back and neck, automobile accidents, accidental cuts, and food- and alcohol-related issues also make the list.

While having insurance cannot prevent these things from happening, having adequate and appropriate coverage can help with the challenges that might occur from them. Your policies can help you recover from a physical loss and/or protect you against loss by litigation.

First of all, if you attend a gathering where alcohol may be served, have a designated driver. Driver intoxication is the leading cause of auto-related accidents during the holidays behind loss of control on slick or snow-covered roads. 

If you host a gathering where alcohol may be served, watch your guests for signs of intoxication or insist on having designated drivers. You might also consider calling a cab or hired car to take inebriated guests home. If an intoxicated person leaves your gathering and causes an accident, you could face charges under Indiana’s social host laws.

While auto insurance would be used in event of a motor vehicle loss while driving, your home insurance liability section could be tapped if you face host law litigation. If your assets – your home, income and savings – exceed your liability coverage limit, you should consider increasing the limit or adding an umbrella liability policy. An umbrella policy will put another $1 million or more of asset protection in place over your home and private passenger vehicles, and all members of your household.

The medical payments and liability sections of a home insurance policy can also be used for those who become ill or injured while at, or because of, your gathering. So, if someone slips and falls trying to enter or leave your home, the medical payments section of the policy can help pay their initial medical costs.

Similarly, that section can also help guests who have a bad allergic reaction to something served and need medical assistance.

Sometimes, holiday decorations can overheat, or tipped candles can cause furniture or paper to catch fire, potentially leading to major losses. Fire is one of the chief causes of loss that a home policy provides coverage. This is one reason why even renters should carry contents and liability insurance.

So, while insurance may not help out when your uncles exchange words over politics, it can make other losses more manageable and your holidays less dramatic.

Alan T. Girton is a veteran agent with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. To learn more, visit