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Avoid gift surprises

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Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012 12:47 pm | Updated: 12:40 pm, Fri Sep 6, 2013.

Shoppers seeking to surprise loved ones with the perfect present may be saying “Bah, humbug” unless they take the proper insurance precautions.

That’s because some gifts may cost homeowners extra on their insurance premiums, or may not be covered at all.

To ensure shoppers are prepared, AAA Insurance reminds consumers to also consider the price they’ll pay for their insurance policy in the new year.

Below is a list shoppers should check twice to see if their gift made the list of items that may be excluded from policies or carry a higher price tag:

• Trampolines. Insurers view outdoor trampolines as a high risk for personal injury. Therefore, some providers may not offer you liability coverage if you or someone else is hurt using the equipment. Otherwise, you may expect to see a higher premium, making that one-time purchase a monthly budget burden.

• Certain breeds of dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 800,000 dog bites require medical attention each year, with half occurring on the dog owner’s property. Therefore, many insurers exclude “vicious breeds” from homeowners’ policies, leaving owners financially responsible for Fido’s behavior.

• Fine jewelry, electronics, art or collectibles. Luxury items are not commonly excluded from homeowners’ or renters’ policies, but they are only covered up to a certain value. For this reason, consider listing these items specifically on your policy, or purchase personal property insurance to protect the full value of the item.

During the holiday season and throughout the year, AAA Insurance recommends the following tips to ensure homeowners have adequate protection:

• Check before you buy. Talk to your agent before making a purchase that may require special coverage.

• Protect your family. If you already own an animal considered high risk, ensure that your liability protection includes your pet. If your insurance carrier won’t cover the breed, consider looking for coverage that will so you’re protected.

• Protect your possessions. Protect your possessions from theft/loss by updating your coverage to include these and other valuable items such as jewelry, furniture, electronics, artwork, etc.

• Update your policy, if needed. If you’ve renovated your home, let your agent know. If you update your home without updating your policy, those changes are unlikely to be covered under your current policy.

• Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.

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