Happy—and Safe!—Holidays: Five Tips For Disaster-Free Festivities
It’s that time of year when people are filled with holiday cheer! Turning on the holiday lights, hosting the annual Christmas party, and enjoying time with friends and family. However, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and not think about the risks that may come along with them.
Taking a few simple steps and having the right insurance coverage can reduce these seasonal hazards. Start with these safety tips:
1. Be Fire Safe
December is the peak month for fires caused by candles. Christmas tree-related fires, while not as common as candle fires, are much more likely to be deadly.
Decorations and cooking are the two leading causes of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Take care when decorating for the holidays not to put decorations too close to a heat source, and never leave the stove unattended while cooking. Always be sure to have smoke alarms in working condition.
In the event of a fire, evacuate immediately and prepare by developing and practicing a home fire escape plan with the whole family.
Fire, smoke, and water damage are covered under homeowners and renters insurance policies.
2. Burglar-proof Home
December is the fifth most common month in which burglaries occur, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
If you’re traveling over the holidays, have mail and packages picked up or held by the post office, use automatic timers to turn lights on and off at appropriate times, and have a dependable neighbor check on the house periodically.
Consider making your home more secure with dead-bolt locks, window grates, and smoke/fire/burglar alarms. An added benefit: most insurers provide discounts for devices that make a home safer.
Personal possessions are covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies – even holiday gifts stored in your car!
3. Safe Driving
Safe driving and well-maintained vehicles take on even greater importance during the winter.
- Give yourself enough time to arrive at your destination; never rush in rainy, snowy, or icy conditions.
- Stay off the road between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. when drunk driving accidents are most likely.
- Obey speed limits and avoid all distractions (no texting, eating, grooming!) while behind the wheel.
- Keep your gas tank full. Stormy weather or traffic delays that force you to change routes or turn back can result in the use of more gas.
If you have an accident, make sure you understand your auto insurance coverage and how to file a claim.
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