Protect your Lehigh Valley home with these holiday safety tips.
Believe it or not, the joy of the holiday season is often linked to insurance claims. And nothing puts a drag on the Christmas and New Year’s holidays quite like being the victim of water damage, theft, fire, or lawsuit. Unfortunately, these types of things do happen, and the risk of them occurring usually increases during the holiday season. Here are the most common home insurance claims during the holidays and how to prevent them!
Water damage is a major factor in homeowner insurance claims, especially when homes are unoccupied during the holidays. In fact, according to data assembled by the Insurance Information Institute, about 1 in 50 insured homes have a homeowners insurance claim due to water damage or freezing each year. How the water damage occurred and how your policy is written can make the difference that determines if your claim is covered, partially-covered, or even denied.
Tips on how to prevent holiday water damage:
- Invest in a water leak detection system like Nest or Roost.
- Shut off the water supply when away from home for extended periods of time. (Toilets, dishwashers, ice makers, washing machines and exterior faucets can fail.)
- Keep the heat set to at least 60 degrees while the home is unoccupied.
- Consider updating all water supply lines with metal braided tubing. Inspect your water supply lines to your washers and refrigerators annually.
- Consider installing a water softener. It will extend the life of your appliances.
- Be considerate of what you put in your garbage disposal and what you’re flushing down the toilet. (Hint: flushable wipes should not be flushed!)
- Invest in a 6-month maintenance plan on your AC system. This should include inspecting and servicing the condenser and overflow pan.
- Ice damming is very common this time of year. Clean out your gutters and install proper ventilation in your attic.
- Purchase a snow rake. If you plan on replacing your roof, spend the extra money for an ice damming shield and ridge vents on all roof peaks. Upgrade your attic insulation to recommended government R-Rating standards.
- Replace your water heater every 10 years per the manufacturer. The water heater should be inspected annually by a trained plumber.
Theft is a big issue during the holidays. You’re distracted by the holiday cheer, buying things online (and having the items delivered to your home while at work,) and leaving your home unattended while visiting family and friends or vacationing. Unfortunately, no one is completely immune from theft and it can happen when you least expect it. Even YOU and your Lehigh Valley home can be a target.
Tips on how to prevent holiday theft:
- Install cameras and other security devices. Ring is a good option for your front door.
- Invest in a personal safe or a locked room in your home.
- If you have recently acquired new valuables, inform your insurance agent so that your homeowner insurance policy can be updated and your protection adequate.
- If you have guns, lock them up.
- Don’t keep cash in your home. That’s what bank accounts are for.
House fire claims are common during the holiday season, but not for the reasons you might think. Many people believe that dry Christmas trees are to blame for most holiday house fires. While trees do go up in flames each year, the source of most holiday fires is a candle. According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average, 23 home candle fires are reported each day. The top 3 days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Tips on how to prevent holiday fires:
- Never leave a fire source unattended. Blow out all the candles before you leave a room or go to bed!
- Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn, especially christmas trees.
- Keep candles away from young children and pets – accidents happen.
- And of course, don’t forget to check your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly and that the batteries are fresh!
Bodily Injury Liability
Tis the season to be merry and bright, so you likely have plans to host friends, family, and acquaintances in your home. Unfortunately, these occasions can also lead to liability if one of your house guests gets injured while on your property. Perhaps Champ got loose and bit your neighbor’s daughter on the hand. Maybe an ice covered sidewalk caused someone to slip. Whatever the cause, make sure you know the risks and are fully protected by your home insurance policy if something were to happen.
Tips on how to prevent holiday liability issues:
- The holidays are a busy time and can cause a lot of stress, especially on your furry companions. Consider keeping them away from guests to prevent bites.
- If you are hosting a holiday party this season, make sure your driveway, sidewalks, and porch are properly shoveled and salted.
- If you plan to serve alcohol, take steps to limit your liquor liability (hire a bartender, serve food, encourage designated drivers, etc.) and make sure you are covered with the proper insurance.
It’s vital to understand how the holidays can increase the risk of home insurance claims for your Lehigh Valley home. Taking the necessary steps to ensure you are protected will give you peace of mind. Now is a good time to contact your Lehigh Valley independent agent and make sure your policy still fits your needs.
Arbor Insurance Group provides home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and other personal and business insurance products throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Emmaus, Macungie and surrounding areas.