Deck the Halls

holiday insurance

Household Fire Hazards

Cooking is not the only holiday fire threat especially when it’s time to deck the halls.

Fireplace- Clean your chimney before lighting the first fire of the season. Otherwise, buildup in it could cause an unwanted fire. Plus, you want it to be clear when Santa arrives.
Space heaters- Keep them on level surfaces, and never leave the room with one running. Keep flammable items clear of your heater.
Candles- Keep them away from curtains or other flammable objects. Again, never leave them unattended.
Christmas trees- That beautiful green tree can turn into a dry piece of kindling. Water it often.
Christmas lights- Don’t overload outlets, and make sure to throw away any frayed strands.

The weather outside is frightful

Christmas is a heavy travel days. That means the roads, trains and buses – will be packed. Be patient, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.

It is a busy season so be careful not to drive when you’re exhausted. Drowsy driving is nearly as bad as drunken driving, it puts you, your passengers and everyone else on the road at risk.

Be prepared for car trouble or inclement weather when you are on the road. Keep an emergency kit in your car, complete with blankets, flashlights, nonperishable food and drinks, medications, batteries and other supplies.

Don’t spread too much holiday cheer

If you’re throwing a party, remember that you could be held responsible if someone has too much to drink and endangers themselves or others. Social host responsibility laws vary by state – talk to your insurance agent about the rules where you live, and determine whether you have enough liability coverage.

A good way to monitor party guests is to require them to hand over their keys as the price of admission. That way you can check in with them when they leave. Serve nonalcoholic beverages and food to help mute the effects of drinking. Set a last call at least an hour before the party ends. And never serve alcohol to minors.

Keep an eye out for the real Grinches

Thieves can prey on you at least two ways during the holidays: in-person and over the Internet.

Keep a close eye on your credit cards – and your credit card statements. Cyber criminals step up their efforts during the holidays, according to Columbia, MD-based online security company Tenable. Particularly vulnerable are public Wi-Fi networks. Experts advise against using them for purchases.

Of course, your gifts remain vulnerable to less sophisticated burglars when they’re wrapped and under the tree. If you have bought jewelry or some other high-value item for a loved one, you should make sure it’s protected under your home insurance contents coverage.

Remember, that coverage sometimes limits how much a policy will pay out for high-value items. Check with your insurance provider to see whether you should schedule an endorsement for such items.

Also remember to add your new valuables to your home inventory list. It will help if you need to file a claim for robbery or loss from fire or another covered peril.

Follow these tips to reduce the chances of filing a claim during this holiday season. That means you will avoid trouble and have a (mostly) stress-free time celebrating with family and friends.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Mertens Insurance Agency!

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