Holidays: The Scariest Season Of All For Home Hazards

You made it through Halloween, but if you’re a homeowner, don’t get too comfortable. The scariest season of all is now here: the Holidays.

Christmas. Thanksgiving. Hanukah. Kwanzaa. However different our traditions may be, we all share the reality that the Holiday Season is a high-risk time on the home front.

According to new claims data from Allstate Insurance Company, an average of 67,500 homeowners insurance claims are reported during the holidays with some threats to safety and home security rising significantly during the same period.

Here’s a brief rundown of what Allstate is seeing in its data:

  • Overall, home fire claims jump 15 percent during the holiday season with candles the most likely cause. “In fact, Christmas week is among the top three weeks of the year for candle-related claims. The median cost … is almost $50,000,” the company said in a statement.
  • Turkey fryer claims triple during the holiday season when compared with the rest of the year, producing a median cost of $29,000 per incident.

  • From the last week of December through the first week in January, fireworks claims double with an approximate cost of $14,000 per incident.

  • Christmas trees are a huge culprit with tree-related fire claims averaging $100,000 per incident. And if you think that’s bad, stack it up against the most expensive tree-related claim, which involved an artificial Christmas tree in the homeowners’ living room that broke out and racked up $2.4 million in damages.

So What’s Causing The Trouble?

Allstate surveyed respondents to see if they could get a specific handle on things. They found that more than half (52 percent) of consumers state they are trying to do too many things at one time during the holidays. Sixty percent will try new techniques for cooking and decorating, while about 55 percent, who drink alcohol during the holidays say they drink more than they usually would throughout the remainder of the year.

Also, more than half (56 percent) of consumers revealed that their daily schedule and routine change significantly during this time of year with 71 percent leaving delivered packages outside their home, thus drawing the wrong kind of attention to their homes and elevating theft claims. Further agitating the risk of theft, 54 percent of respondents traveled overnight during the holiday season and 37 percent admitted to becoming more distracted or forgetful due to the influence of their children.

Other than fire and theft claims, sewer back-up incidents increased by 19 percent.

“According to our polling, most Americans celebrate the holidays in a home, whether it’s their home, a family member’s home or a friend’s home,” said Kathy Mabe, president of the Western US and Canada for Allstate. “While 76 percent of respondents say they’re mindful of potential hazards in the home, preventable claims do increase during this time of year. By taking some simple precautions, families can celebrate with better peace of mind this holiday season.”

What Are Some Simple Things You Can Do To Avoid Holiday Hazards?

Fires: If using a turkey fryer, cook outside and away from the house. Don’t leave it unattended and read and follow safety instructions. With Christmas trees, make sure you unplug the lights whenever you’re in bed or not at home. Burn candles on a flat surface away from flammable materials, and as with the turkey fryer and Christmas lights, extinguish when you’re not going to be present.

Theft: Going away for the holidays? Leave on lights and music. Thieves would rather deal with an easy target than be made to guess whether their next steps will cost them a jail trip. If having packages delivered, make sure someone is at home or ship to your workplace or other secure address.

Sewer Back-Up Incidents: Don’t dump grease down a drain. Trash uneaten food that you don’t plan on having as leftovers. And if you’ve got any toilet stoppers in your family, tell them to flush frequently!

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