The holidays are here – and it’s about that time to visit with family and friends, exchange gifts and enjoy all the spirit and festivity of the season. But, as with any disruption to the regular routine, the “most wonderful time of the year” comes with its own caveats. Whether you’re traveling or planning to stay close to home for the holidays, consider these 10 tips to ensure your seasonal celebrations are safe and secure. From pointers for protecting your home while you’re away to talking politics with family at the dinner table, here’s how you can avoid filing a claim on your insurance policy while you’re making merry and bright.
- Don’t post your plans.
While it’s tempting to check-in and share your excitement about travel online, be careful about what you’re putting out there for anyone to see. Manage your security settings to restrict who sees your social posts, and keep your comings and goings out of the hands of strangers who can track when you’re not home.
- Let your neighbor know.
If you’re headed out of town for the holidays, have someone check up on your home while you’re away. Water damage is one of the worst kinds of enemies for a homeowner, so a friend or neighbor can pop by periodically to confirm everything is in good working order. While the event of an emergency is highly unlikely, it’s also handy to have someone who can collect your mail so it doesn’t pile up out front.
- Secure your stuff.
When it comes to your valuables, it’s always a smart idea to keep your prized possessions somewhere secure. Your insurance policy may include fine jewelry or any number of expensive items. Utilize a fireproof safe tucked away in your bedroom for peace of mind while you’re out of town.
- Lock up and leave a light on.
This one should be a no-brainer, but do double-check that you’ve secured all the locks in your home when you leave. (As a rule of thumb, it’s wise to put this into practice with your car as well to prevent auto theft.) Lock all doors – and don’t forget about the windows. After you lock up, leave a light on so that your home is never pitch-black. Ideally, you can set a timer on this light to reduce the risk of fire and give your home the appearance of activity.
- Light the way with LED.
And speaking of leaving on a light, make a switch over to LED lighting. Even if you’re staying home, now’s the time to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED lighting. Create the perfect festive ambiance complete with LED-lit flickering candles and holiday lights while consuming less electricity and putting off less heat. Because the LED bulb is cooler, you greatly reduce the risk of fire – so go ahead and get your home on your neighborhood’s Tacky Light Tour!
- Don’t toy with small parts.
When shopping for little ones, be sure to heed advisories about age-appropriate toys. Toddlers especially are likely to explore the world by taste, so you don’t want to purchase items with small parts. Read the packaging before you buy, and stay away from coin lithium batteries if you can.
- Let’s talk turkey.
If you search YouTube for clips of turkey fryers, you’re likely to come across some fiery explosions that surely resulted in an ER visit. Keep yourself and your loved ones out of the hospital this holiday season by being extra careful while cooking. If you do opt to use a turkey fryer, keep a fire extinguisher at the ready and follow all instructions diligently.
- Drive responsibly.
Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. Just make sure you have a designated driver if you’re ringing in the New Year in a public place. Traffic tends to be more congested this time of year, so be mindful in the car and expect delays when you hit the road. Never text and drive.
- Be polite about politics.
Hopefully dinner conversation won’t lead to filing a claim on your insurance policy, but 2016 was a divisive year in politics. If possible, stay off any controversial subjects that might disrupt the flow of good food and great company. If you do decide to go there, proceed with caution, respect the opinions of others, and present your views politely. (It only makes your argument stronger, anyway.)
- Call us if you need anything.
As your insurance company, we’re here if you need us. Feel free to give us a call if you need assistance with your home, car or other insurance policies. Or, visit our Customer Care Center where you can access your insurance company’s claims department.
We wish you and your family a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!