Top tips to avoid winter holiday season home insurance claims

Winter holiday season - Christmas tree and Christmas decorations

This season is filled to the brim with festivities, but these celebrations also come with certain risks.

The winter holiday season is already well underway. Friends and family gather together for parties, meals and other celebrations. All this extra food, cooking and people can pose some potential risks at home that could lead to homeowners insurance claims unless you take the right precautions.

Understanding the risks is the first step to making sure you’ll take the right steps to prevent hazards.

Understanding the risks associated with the winter holiday season is one of the first steps toward avoiding dangers. When you know the risks are there and what they represent, you’re more likely to be driven to take action to prevent them. This makes it the first step to avoiding costly homeowners insurance claims at this time of year.

If you want to know some of the most common claims made during the holiday season, one of your best resources is your insurance agent or broker. That said, if you pay attention to the types of things that happen during your celebrations, you can identify some of the risks on your own. Consider risks for tripping and falling, possible hazards associated with your decorations, and potential dangers that could happen in the kitchen. Identifying chances for injuries and fires and taking steps to prevent them can eliminate a huge number of preventable perils.

Consider the following winter holiday season risks and take action to prevent them.

Christmas tree and decoration fires can be a serious problem at this time of the year. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) data shows that about 40 percent of Christmas tree fires from 2011 through 2015 were caused by lighting and other electrical features. Make sure none of your cords are frayed or shorting out. If any cords – including strings of lights – show signs of wear, it’s time to replace them.

Another 15 percent of Christmas tree fires were caused by heating devices too close to the tree. Six percent was caused by people playing with fire and 8 percent was from candles. Pay attention to

That said, when it comes to other winter holiday season risks, there are many different sources. For example, among home decoration fires, over half are caused by candles. Clearly, greater care needs to be taken when lighting candles. Never leave them unattended and keep them away from flammable objects (at least 12 inches away) or places where they could be knocked over. The top days for fires started by candles are Christmas day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

One in four winter holiday season fires is caused by a heat source too Christmas decorations such as the tree. Make sure any heat source is a minimum of three feet away from the Winter holiday season - Christmas tree and Christmas decorationsclosest point of the tree. Finally, once the new year comes around, make a priority of taking down the tree and putting it away or disposing of it properly. Dry real trees become increasingly risky with each passing day.

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