Kitchen Fires and Theft: Protecting Yourself Against Holiday Disaster

Fran
Fran Majidi
November 19, 2019

Even before Halloween was over we were all wondering, “When is Thanksgiving 2019?” Thursday, November 28 is set to be another great holiday, as long as we take some precautions. The same is true for Black Friday, Christmas, Chanukah and other gift-giving holidays.

The holiday season is a time to spend with loved ones and to create lasting memories by giving and receiving. Many of us will share a lavish meal on Thanksgiving and on Friday we’ll go shopping for Christmas gifts during the Black Friday 2019 sales. Many Americans save up their money all year long so they can buy just the right things for family members, friends, and colleagues.

The last thing anyone thinks about is getting robbed of their precious purchases. Unfortunately, preventing a robbery should be your first thought during the holiday. As with all occasions that involve shopping, we all need to be more vigilant because crime rates are highest around Black Friday and Christmas.

It’s a good idea to be aware of several other perils, like kitchen fires and home break-ins, during the holiday season too. By sharing tips on avoiding the most common types of losses, we hope to spare you holiday disaster stories and expensive insurance claims. We also explain which insurer to file a claim with, if you do have a mishap this holiday season. Happy (safe) holidays!

Hide the Gifts in the Car!

Gifts in the car are like a welcome sign to thieves. It’s always a good idea to bring your purchases home right away and not leave them exposed in a car while you hop from store to store. If your car is damaged during a break-in you’re covered by comprehensive coverage but if the items in your car get stolen, they will not be covered by car insurance at all. Those items are considered household contents (yes, even gifts), so you would have to file a claim with your homeowners or renters insurance if you get to your car and they are gone.

Place Black Friday Deals in the Trunk

You scored a dirt-cheap wide-screen TV from Best Buy’s Black Friday sale, but you may easily be without your purchase at the end of the day if you leave it in a parked car. If you have no choice but to leave your car unattended with a big-ticket item inside, make sure to park close to the store, where there will be security guards and cameras at the very least. If you’re shopping after dark and are leaving items in the car, try to avoid buying more than what fits in the trunk. If you simply can’t avoid leaving purchases within eye-shot, park in a well-lit area where thieves will be wary of doing any illegal activity.

The Christmas Tree Earmarks Valuables

Christmas festivities will be in full swing pretty much the day after Thanksgiving. Some people are already planning where to place their amazing Christmas trees. However, gifts under the tree are very tempting to an intruder who may see the items from a nearby window. Most families keep their Christmas trees near a window or entrance, which makes a robbery much more convenient for a thief looking for a quick in-and-out plan. Consider moving the tree away from an entrance or a window that can easily be shattered or jimmied open. If you have limited options, make sure the nearby windows and door(s) are locked at all times.

Even if you take all precautions to avoid getting robbed, sometimes it happens to the best of us. You’ll need to file a homeowners or renters insurance claim for the missing items, including your newly purchased gifts. Hopefully, you’ll still have all your receipts, which will help you get back what you spent. But do consider the fact that there is a homeowners insurance deductible that needs to be paid by you before your coverage kicks in.

Kitchen Fires (Get a Kitchen Fire Extinguisher!)

For a variety of reasons, there are more kitchen fires during the holidays than any other. Often novice chefs are cooking their first turkey only to find themselves fighting a grease fire or oven fire. It’s always good to have a kitchen fire extinguisher in the home and to keep in mind that throwing water on a grease fire will only worsen the situation and possibly make the flames spread farther. The best thing to do to contain a fire is to smother it with a towel or to put a lid on it. If the fire is in the oven, turn it off and keep the oven door closed to smother the flames.

Never leave the kitchen unattended for more than a few seconds. It only takes a couple of minutes for flames to overtake a kitchen and possibly the house. More kitchen fire claims are filed during Thanksgiving than any other time of the year, so make sure you’re not a statistic. A fire in the kitchen is a sure way to ruin the holidays.

Are You Liable if Someone Gets Hurt in Your Home?

Another exposure during the holidays is people getting hurt in your home if you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in your home. A simple trip-and-fall accident may result in an emergency room visit or possibly a debilitating injury. Make sure you have proper limits in place with your homeowners insurance, which will cover you against lawsuits and medical bills related to an accident in the home.

Children will be in attendance too, in large numbers if extended family is visiting. You should be careful to hide matches, sharp objects, and hazardous cleaning solutions. Keep children out of the kitchen and make sure there’s someone watching them at all times.

Not Home for the Holidays?

If you are a guest at someone else’s home and are leaving your home unattended, you’ll want to hide this fact from thieves We suggest locking all windows and doors, turning on your home alarm system, setting up your surveillance cameras and setting your lights to a timer to simulate activity in the house, with lights going on and off inside. Make sure gifts and valuables are not in plain sight. Lights with sensors outside the home are also great deterrents to thieves, who are like vampires when it comes to lights.

There are other tell-tale signs of a home being left vacant, one of them being the mail. Ask a neighbor to check-in and collect your mail for you if you’re gone for a week or two.

Road Trip to the Relatives’ Home?

If you are traveling by car to a holiday destination and plan to drive a distance, consider raising your collision and comprehensive limits. Your chances of having an accident are greater the more you drive. It’s not a bad idea to have that extra protection, in case you do have a mishap during a lengthy road trip.

Are You Due for a New Insurance Quote Before the Season Begins?

Before raising your limits on your home and auto insurance for the holidays, make sure you’re with the right insurance company and that you’re paying the lowest rate available for dependable protection. Compare car insurance quotes here by filling out a brief form here (we suggest bundling home and auto for maximum savings) or compare home insurance quotes by visiting here.

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