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4 Personal Lines Risks Agents Can Help Clients Avoid This Fall

From travel insurance to home or auto liability, autumn presents numerous opportunities to communicate with clients outside of renewing a policy or filing a claim.
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4 personal lines risks agents can help clients avoid this fall

Whether it's going to a theme park Halloween celebration, a drive to see the fall leaves turn color, or just to take advantage of the world reopening from the pandemic, the fall travel season presents opportunities for insurance agents to start a conversation with their policyholders.

Agents have very few opportunities to interact with their policyholders outside of renewal or a loss claim, so taking the chance to open up a conversation about coverages and exposure builds rapport and could help retain that customer for the long term.

From travel insurance to home or auto liability, autumn presents numerous opportunities to serve policyholders as an expert and communicate with them outside of renewing a policy or filing a claim. Here are four conversation starters for you and your clients:

1) Travel Gone Wrong

With luggage getting lost by airlines more often these days—reports of mishandled bags are up 43% from the same time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation—travel insurance is an easy conversation to start. Couple that with the increased chance of a delayed flight, at 22% in August 2022 compared to 18% in August 2019, according to CNBC, and a travel policy's value becomes much more obvious.

Gaming information site released a study quantifying how much travelers are willing to pay to avoid losing their bags. It turns out that, between changing to direct flights or buying specialized carry-on bags, a typical traveler is willing to spend $252 to avoid losing luggage.

Assuming a travel policy costs about 5% of the value of the trip, a client could purchase coverage for a $5,000 trip for the amount they are willing to spend to avoid that lost luggage. And in addition to covering the lost luggage, they would also be covered for missed or delayed flights, not to mention any health mishaps that happen along the way.

If the policyholder is aiming to cash in on fall travel rather than making a trip themselves, they may be tempted to rent out their home through a short-term rental company, which presents the opportunity for another conversation.

When homeowners list their homes to rent, they get some coverage from the company. But those coverages are far from comprehensive and some high-profile disputes between the property owner and the rental company following a loss have occurred.

Few homeowners realize that renting their home triggers a commercial use exclusion from their homeowners policy. This presents a terrific opportunity to educate them before anything bad happens and helping them buy additional coverage through a landlord or short-term rental endorsement to close the coverage gap.

Meanwhile, the same goes for rideshare drivers who may not realize their auto policy may be leaving them with coverage gaps unless they get a commercial use rider.

2) Outdoor Adventures

If the policyholder's fall travel includes outdoor activities, a specific conversation about travel insurance may also be in order: Outdoor activities may present a specific case for a travel policy.

One of those cases would involve the health provision of travel policies. If a hike brought the travelers outside their normal health care coverage area, a travel policy may be clutch if someone falls ill. As long as the travel is in the U.S., all Affordable Care Act insurance policies would cover emergencies—so a broken leg would be covered—but less severe events, like a stomach virus, may not rise to the emergency status, leaving the traveler essentially uninsured. With a travel policy, that would be covered.

A travel policy would also pay for a medical evacuation, such as when the traveler had to be transported to the next suitable health provider and, in the case of a hiker who is injured in a remote location, could include a costly helicopter ride. Much of that evacuation would be covered by a travel policy. These aren't obvious coverage gaps for most policyholders, so they present a great conversation opportunity for agents. 

Another opportunity is to explain the electric scooter loophole. If a traveler rents an electric scooter, they may be completely uninsured. Their auto policy may not cover them if they got into a wreck because two-wheeled vehicles are typically excluded—unless the policy had a motorcycle endorsement. The homeowners policy wouldn't come into play either because motorized vehicles are typically excluded.

An umbrella policy or a motorcycle endorsement may be the only way to protect the policyholder, and having that conversation before the crash may save a lot of pain down the road.

3) Spooky Claims

Halloween is another opportunity to open a dialog with a policyholder before something scary happens. While homeowners insurance or a business owners policy would cover the policyholder if someone was injured, taking the opportunity to discuss those risks on the front end may help avoid a claim.

But tripping over a plastic tombstone isn't where the Halloween dangers end. If the homeowner has a furry companion, letting them know about the liability surrounding pet bites is always worthwhile, especially as costumed revelers may come knocking on the door and may rile up the family dog.

Nobody believes their dog could bite anyone, but when it does happen, the claims often cost tens of thousands of dollars. Educating the homeowners about breed exclusions could also prevent them from believing they were covered only to find out their policy excludes their pet.

4) Tailgating

With football season comes tailgating parties, which is another opening for liability. In many states, the party host is held liable for the actions of guests who overindulge in alcohol. This is called “social host liability," and many homeowners are unaware of this risk.

Food poisoning is another real risk, as would be an injury if a guest trips and falls. In these cases, homeowners should know the difference between their homeowners liability coverage and their separate no-fault medical payments coverage. Letting homeowners know that the medical payments coverage is there for smaller-scale treatments may be enough to head off a bigger lawsuit later.

Michael Giusti is analyst and senior writer for

Friday, September 23, 2022
Personal Lines