What is often labelled as “the most wonderful time of the year” can be filled with stresses and safety issues. The good news is that these issues can be avoided by following the right holiday safety tips.
Even though many other holidays are celebrated this time of year, let’s focus on some potential problems surrounding the Christmas season that can be reduced with a little preparation and thoughtfulness.
Christmas holiday safety tips
Because Christmas is all about family time, you may find your home busier than normal. With that can come different insurance claims specific to the holiday season that you may not have to be so mindful of the rest of the year. For example, Christmas gifts lying around the house could lead to a greater risk of theft claims. If property worth more than your deductible is taken, your insurance may cover it.
However, let’s say you’ve been given or purchased very expensive jewelry or electronics. It’s important to consider what that means for holiday household insurance claims. Basic personal property insurance may not cover those items and so it’s important to purchase a separate policy or rider on top of your existing policy.
As you approach the holiday season, home insurance becomes even more important in avoiding liability of injury or property damage. Yes, parties are fun, but holiday cheer can get out of hand (especially after the year-and-a-half we’ve had). Your personal liability may typically cover about $100,000, which hopefully does the trick.
Christmas tree safety tips
If your Christmas tree catches fire, will your insurance cover you?
Generally, basic home insurance will cover Christmas tree fires. However, there are nuances to keep track of. For instance, most condo buildings do not allow tenants to have live trees and if you plan on buying an artificial tree it’s important to ensure it is made of flame-retardant materials and is CSA-approved.
To avoid an insurance mishap with your Christmas tree, take the following steps when buying a live tree:
- Buy a fresh tree.
- Place the tree at least three feet away from heat sources or open flames.
- Do not place the tree in a space that blocks an exit or creates a trip hazard.
- Refill the tree stand’s water reservoir every day.
- Never decorate a tree with lit candles.
- Discard the tree after it becomes dry and needles start to fall on the floor.
Some insurance companies offer shorter-term general liability insurance that is useful for holiday season festivities. When installing lights, many businesses can take out insurance for Christmas light installation.
In the case of homeowners, it’s best to use professional lighting installation services that are insured (and not all of them are). Request to see their certificate of insurance and verify that it has not expired. If you fail to get that, and something goes wrong, you could be liable for any unforeseen injuries.
Insurance tips for Christmas lights
Some helpful hints when using a service or installing Christmas lights yourself include:
- Inspect all the plugs and cords for damage.
- Be sure to use indoor lights for inside your home and outdoor lights outside your home.
- Use a surge protector to prevent a power overload.
- Check your electrical system by inspecting your home’s outdoor outlets and plugs.
- Never connect more lights together than the recommended number of light strings.
Safety tips for holiday travel
With border restrictions being lifted, many people are itching to get away after a long COVID staycation. It’s not a bad time to review your home insurance policy when away on holiday.
Make sure someone can come around to check on your home, give it a lived-in look, have your mail collected, and maybe even get your driveway shovelled. If you’re going on holiday, most home insurance policies require at the very least a check-in if you are gone more than five days.
Be sensible, stay safe, and enjoy the holidays. Your family and insurance company will thank you. For more information on holiday safety tips and Christmas insurance claims, speak to your insurance agent or broker.
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About the author
Joel Kranc is an award-winning writer, author and journalist. Most of his experience lies within the institutional investment and financial services space. He also covers a variety of business topics for publications in North America and the UK.