The most common holiday disasters occur unexpectedly, so you need to be prepared. Some of the damage can be expensive if you don’t have adequate insurance for holiday disasters. So, it’s a good idea to review your homeowners policy now, just in case you need to make any changes.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without colorful lights, candles, and roaring fireplaces. They give us a sense of tradition and comfort during the season. But, these same sources of comfort and joy can be responsible for an uptick in insurance claims this time of year.
Do You Have Adequate Insurance for Common Holiday Disasters?
In most cases, your homeowners policy will cover accidental holiday mishaps. The most common holiday disaster claims typically fall into 5 categories. These are the main ones you need to watch out for:
#1. Fire Damage
Next to Thanksgiving Day, Christmas day is the leading day for kitchen fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The risk of fire during the holidays is often attributed to the following:
- Christmas trees – Christmas trees catching fire is not far-fetched. According to NFPA, 160 home fires that began when the tree caught fire resulted in 2 deaths, 12 injuries, and about million in property damage during a four-year period. In many of these fires, the tree was too close to a heat source such as heat, candles, or other lighting equipment.
- Candles – Christmas day is the peak day for candle fires. An average of 7,400 home fires attributed to candles caused 90 deaths, 670 injuries, and 1 million in property damage. In the majority of cases, the candle was too close to flammable items.
- Decorations – Christmas decorations caused about 790 home fires, one death, 26 injuries, and $13 million in property damage during the last four years. In most cases, the decorations were too close to a heat source.
- Cooking – About 49 percent of home fires are the result of cooking. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of this type of home fire.
To help homeowners avoid these types of holiday disasters, they offer tips and resources to reduce your risk of suffering a loss due to fire.
#2. Theft of Gifts, Packages, or Decorations
Standard homeowners policies cover theft. If someone breaks into your home or car and steals gifts, or takes packages off the porch, you can file a claim with your insurance company. Also, if someone steals your awesome outdoor decorations, you should be covered for that as well.
Your standard homeowners policy should cover the vandalism of holiday decorations. If someone decides to destroy your outdoor holiday displays, your policy covers most incidents of vandalism. In some cases, however, the damage may not be covered. For instance, if you operate a business out of your home or the home was unoccupied for over 60 days, it may not qualify for this coverage. Talk to your agent to make sure your home is protected.
#4. Injuries to Guests
If a guest is injured on your property during the holidays, medical payments coverage can help pay for an ambulance or x-rays. This coverage is for minor or moderate injuries, regardless of who was at fault. For severe injuries, a personal liability claim is required. This coverage helps pay for expenses such as surgery, missed wages, or litigation.
#5. Identity Theft
Holiday shopping online puts everyone at an increased risk for identity theft. Hackers and scammers look forward to the surge in online shopping this time of year, and they are ready to take advantage. They are especially fond of Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Approximately one in four survey respondents fell victim to online fraud during the holidays, according to Experian. Some insurance companies include identity theft coverage, but you may need to add an endorsement for an additional fee. Check with your agent to make sure you know what is or isn’t covered.
Don’t Let Holiday Disasters Spoil Your Festivities
These are some things you can do to avoid holiday disasters, according to the NFPA:
- Make sure artificial trees and decorations are certified fire-resistant.
- Some lights are not intended for outdoor use. Make sure you check first.
- Check all smoke alarms in your home before cooking.
- Keep candles away from decorations.
Before you have to file a holiday disaster claim, make sure you understand your homeowners coverage. Do you have actual cash value coverage or replacement cost coverage? There are different types of policies, and the amount you will receive for a claim varies.
Everyone at Sandifer Insurance Agency wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.
If you have any questions about insurance for holiday disasters, contact us by phone, email, or online. Or if you are in the market for homeowners, life, auto, farmers, or business insurance, our 40 years of experience assures you of getting the right coverage at an affordable price.