The holiday season is full of reasons to celebrate, but festive occasions during this time of year can also be full of hidden hazards if you’re not careful. New insurance claims data from Allstate shows that threats to home security and safety rise during the holiday season, as an average of 67,500 homeowners insurance claims are reported.
According to the data, holiday-related activities can contribute to one of the biggest home hazards – fire – in addition to causing a number of other problems:
- Home fire claims increase by about 15 percent during the holiday season.
- Candles are cited as the top cause of home fires, bringing an average claim of nearly $50,000.
- The median claim cost for Christmas tree-related fires is over $100,000.
- Three times more turkey fryer claims are reported during the holiday season than any other time of the year, with a median claim cost of nearly $29,000.
- Theft claims jump seven percent around the holidays.
- During the holiday season, sewer back-up claims increase by 19 percent.
But the concept of holiday danger is nothing new. In fact, in December 1908, the New York Board of Underwriters issued a stern announcement to the clients of every fire insurance firm in the city warning against the perils of decking the halls during the holiday season, according to Bloomberg. The announcement read:
“Your attention is hereby respectfully called to the fact that the introduction about the premises of Christmas green, harvest specimens and other inflammable materials, such as cotton, to represent snow, and the like, and the use of moving picture machines, introduces additional hazard not contemplated by the underwriters in issuing policies of indemnity covering the usual fire hazard.”
To counter the number of preventable claims, the National Fire Protection Association offers a number of tips to keep your holiday hazard-free, including:
- Dispose of your Christmas tree immediately after the holiday or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
- Never leave candles burning unattended, and keep them at least 12 inches away from anything flammable. Consider using flameless candles to reduce the risk of fire.
- Just say no to using outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers, which can cause burns, injuries and the destruction of property.
So this holiday season, while you’re trimming the tree and gathering with loved ones by the fire, celebrate with better peace of mind by taking a little time to ensure the safety of your family, home and property.