Burgers and firecrackers. Pumpkins and candy. A jolly man in a red suit. The holidays are a time for celebrating family, faith, or fun. But in all the commotion, it’s easy for minute details to be overlooked that can lead to serious incidents.
Being aware of potential danger is the first step to preventing it. As you read through these holiday insurance claims, keep them in the back of your mind during your next celebration.
Which holidays should I be concerned about?
Truthfully, disasters can strike any day of the year. But we do notice an increase of claims around certain holidays. If you celebrate any of the following, be aware of these common holiday renters insurance claims, and make sure to take necessary precautions (but still have fun!).
- New Year’s – Put a large group of friends together with a few too many drinks and an accidental fall can result in serious injury, especially in cramped conditions. Ring in the New Year without a renters insurance claim by providing a safe environment and keeping tabs on your friends that tend to get a little wild.
- Memorial Day – It’s the first symbolic day of summer. Grills are fired up that have been sitting idle for months, bonfires are lit to keep the festivities going into the evening, and everyone’s more focused on their summer plans that the small details around them may go unnoticed. Keep an eye on the burgers and make sure fires are extinguished before heading to bed.
- Independence Day – It doesn’t get much bigger than a holiday in the middle of summer. In 2017, 44 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles from their home for the Fourth of July weekend. Protect yourself from theft while traveling with renters insurance, which will cover stolen items from your hotel room or car as you celebrate the nation’s birthday.
- Halloween – Sure, those little witches, ghosts, and goblins are cute walking up to your door asking for candy, but what happens if one of them takes a spill down your stairs? Renters insurance will help pay for medical and litigation costs. Keep your yard and walkways well lit and remove any safety hazards before handing out any candy.
- Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is a bit of a grab-bag. Fires are common, along with injuries. Taking proper measures to prevent accidents can go a long way. Deep-frying turkeys is one common cause of house fires on Thanksgiving. If this is the route you plan on taking, make sure to follow instructions and use safe cooking techniques.
- Christmas – Christmas is another popular time of the year for renters insurance claims. Just about all claims increase during this season, including fire, theft, injuries, and travel incidents. While it’s the season of joy and happiness, remain vigilant.
Most Common Holiday Insurance Claims
Here’s a breakdown of the most common insurance claims we see during different festivities throughout the year, and ways to prevent them.
Several holidays are linked to fire claims. Halloween candles, fireplaces lit for Christmas, and Fourth of July fireworks can all lead to disaster.
All you wanted to do was decorate the front porch with your kids’ jack-o-lanterns, but a trick-or-treater unknowingly knocked one over. Now half your porch is smoldering and you’re wondering what to do. Renters insurance is the answer.
Fireplaces are used frequently during the winter holiday season, both for warmth and ambiance. Of course, fires aren’t just limited to the magical holiday season. However, according to the Red Cross, nearly 47,000 home fires break out during the winter holiday season, many of which start with a fireplace.
Whether you plan on entering the neighborhood light contest or keep your holiday decorations to a minimum, old string lights and overburdened outlets are another cause of fire linked to holiday renters insurance claims.
Even an experienced chef can forget about the gravy on the stove or the pie in the oven during the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Christmas Eve are the most common dates for home fires so be sure to take extra precaution when stirring, sautéing, and simmering.
Fire Prevention Tips
- Make sure all candles are blown out before leaving the home or retiring for the evening.
- Have the chimney cleaned before your first fire and keep up on routine maintenance throughout the season.
- Check all string lights and décor for frayed wires.
- Place décor several feet away from heat sources like fireplaces and radiators.
- Don’t overwhelm electrical outlets. Utilize power strips and spread out your décor appropriately.
- Unplug holiday lights before heading to bed.
- Keep flammable materials away from stovetops and heated cooking sources. This includes oven mitts, paper goods, and food packaging.
- Check fire alarms before the season and make sure you have an up-to-date fire extinguisher in a central location of your home.
Burglary and theft
Burglaries tend to increase during the winter holiday season, but depending on your location, you may experience higher peaks during summer. Either way, very few burglary crimes are solved and most of the time, the items are never recovered.
According to a CNN report, the FBI claims the average monetary loss during a burglary is over $1,600. Protect your finances and the recipients of the gifts with renters insurance.
Theft Prevention Tips
- Lock doors and ground floor windows.
- If you can’t be home for package deliveries, see if a neighbor can look out for your deliveries or have them delivered to your work instead of home.
- Leave a light on when you’re not home and if your home’s layout allows, an outdoor light on at night.
- Don’t leave boxes by the garbage. For example, an empty 65” television box sitting by the curb or outside your door is an invitation for a thief.
- Hide expensive gifts in a safe or secure area, especially if you’re having work done around the home in preparation for the holidays (decorating, cleaning, cooking, etc.)
- Don’t announce your travel plans on social media sites.
Slips and falls
Whenever you invite someone over, there’s a risk for injury. Trick-or-treaters can slip on your front steps and family members can trip on a rug after a few too many drinks on Christmas Eve.
Don’t think that because the victim was a close family member that they won’t take legal action. Some of our most common claims are between family members. Renters insurance will cover the medical and legal costs associated with an accident in your home.
Slips and Falls Prevention Tips
- Shovel and salt whenever necessary.
- Keep porches and front stoops clear of debris.
- Avoid placing extension cords across walkways.
- Make sure to assist guests as needed, whether due to age or their love of martinis.
- When planning parties, remove clutter or obstacles from rooms where guests will congregate. Block off areas of the home from children if they’re not child-proof.
- Keep an eye out for drink and food spills and promptly clean them up to prevent slippery surfaces.
While some spend the holidays curled up on their couches with the family, others take the time off from work and school to squeeze in some traveling. If this is your idea of the perfect holiday season, renters insurance can give you peace of mind while you’re gone.
One common travel-involved claim is stolen goods. While this is similar to a general theft claim, it’s worth pointing out because many don’t realize renters insurance can cover this. When you’re across the country buying gifts to bring home with you, only to have them stolen, having them replaced as soon as possible thanks to renters insurance can save your holiday.
Travel Theft Prevention Tips
- Always lock your hotel room.
- Remain vigilant in unfamiliar areas.
- Keep all receipts for purchases, no matter how small.
- When shopping, place shopping bags with expensive brand names in a bag less likely to draw attention.
The holidays should be fun of joy and cheer, not dismay and fear. It’s impossible to prevent all insurance claims (trust us, we’ve tried). But with a little planning and vigilance, you can prevent becoming a holiday renters insurance statistic.