Thanksgiving Safety Tips 2021

Thanksgiving is a time for making memories with family, friends, and friends of friends, but it can also be a dangerous season: Fires can start from cooking and candles, driving is riskier due to the higher-than-average number of cars on the road and newly bought Black Friday merchandise can be stolen from a vehicle or home.

If your house catches on fire or your newly purchased items get stolen from your vehicle, your homeowners insurance will cover those losses. If your car gets stolen, comprehensive auto insurance will replace your car. Read on for a host of Thanksgiving tips, whether you're driving, shopping or cooking and entertaining at home.

House Fires on Thanksgiving

From 2017 to 2019, the average number of reported Thanksgiving Day home fires was more than double the home-fire average on all other days, according to U.S. Fire Administration. In fact, during the same time period, a Thanksgiving Day fire was most likely to break out between noon and 3 p.m.

Every standard home insurance policy covers fire, but now might be a good time to review your policy. In short, your homeowners insurance should have enough dwelling coverage to rebuild your house. While home insurance based on your home's actual cash value is cheaper than home insurance based on your home's replacement cost, the latter will make it easier to recover after a fire.

15 Safety Tips for Deep-Frying a Turkey

Home fires are most common on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and cooking all those delicious meals is a primary cause. Between 2014 and 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to 172,900 home-structure fires, on average per year, started by cooking activities, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports. The No. 1 cause of cooking fires was—by far—unattended cooking equipment.

Unattended cooking equipment causes the most Thanksgiving home fires.

If you plan on deep-frying your turkey, the NFPA has some timely Thanksgiving safety tips:

The NFPA's Deep-Frying Guidelines 

  • Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.

  • Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.

  • Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.

  • Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.

  • Leave two feet of space between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.

  • Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's eight to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys more than 12 pounds.

  • Never leave fryers unattended.

  • Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.

  • Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.

  • Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep an "ABC" or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. Do not use water or a garden hose on a fire related to turkey fryers.

  • Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.

  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.

  • Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.

  • Opt for an oil-less fryer, which uses infrared heat, not oil.

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5 Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

There are a lot of ways decorations can lead to disaster. For one thing, falling off a ladder or tripping over an extension cord can cause contusions, lacerations, fractures and sprains. One great fire-prevention move is to use electric candles, instead of real candles.

Keep your holiday decorations away from candles and other open flames.

Here are four safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  • Keep decorations at least three feet from heat sources, especially fireplaces, candles and other open flames.

  • If your decorations depend on electricity, don't run electrical cords under rugs or furniture. Make sure to turn off any electrified decorations before you go to bed.

  • If you're using an extension ladder to put up decorations, move the base one foot from the structure for every four feet the ladder rises. Always keep two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder. 

  • Make sure your smoke detectors are in proper working order. There should be a smoke detector in each bedroom, in the hallway outside each bedroom and on every level of the house, including the basement.

5 Tips for Preventing Car Theft on Thanksgiving

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) notes that, on average, 2,175 vehicles were stolen every single day of 2019. Of the top 11 holidays for auto theft in 2019, the NICB's data puts New Year's Day at No. 1 (2,320 stolen cars), with Thanksgiving at No. 10 (1,683). 

Comprehensive auto insurance covers stolen cars. Comprehensive insurance is add-on insurance, meaning it is not required by law or part of a standard auto insurance policy, so you'll have to purchase this coverage as a separate, stand-alone product.

To prevent theft on Black Friday, shop with friends and park in a well-lit area.

Here are some National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety tips to prevent auto theft during the Thanksgiving holiday:

  • Park in a well-lit area.

  • Close all the windows and lock all the doors of your vehicle.

  • Don't leave your keys or a spare set in the vehicle.

  • Don't leave valuables in your vehicle, especially if they can be seen from outside the vehicle.

  • Install anti-theft devices, including an audible alarm, vehicle immobilizer and GPS tracking system.

If your car is stolen, immediately contact the police: You'll need an official police report to file an insurance claim. Next, call your auto insurance carrier, informing them of the event as soon as possible.

5 Tips for Driving Safely During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's are when U.S. roads are the busiest, according to the Bureau of Travel Statistics. During the six-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips basically doubles from the national average. With that many cars on the road, the risk of getting into an accident dramatically increases. Here are some Thanksgiving safety tips for the road from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Travel at a safe speed.

  • Don't drive distracted.

  • Wear a seatbelt and wear it properly.

  • Make sure children are buckled in the right seats for their ages and sizes.

  • Drive sober—even one drink can impair your response time.

5 Tips for Preventing Black Friday Thefts

Every standard homeowners insurance policy covers the loss of your personal property, even if that property is stolen while it is not in your home. So, if a thief steals your newly bought Black Friday merchandise from you or your car, your home insurance should take care of it. 

Of course, maintaining and updating a home inventory is essential when filing a claim for personal belongings that have been stolen. Having receipts for items stolen out of your car will help. 

The National Crime Prevention Council has some tips for preventing theft on Black Friday:

  • Shop with a group of people. If you shop alone, you are more likely to be targeted by a thief.

  • Park in a well-lit area, and avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that make you invisible to the general public.

  • When you approach your vehicle, have your keys in hand.

  • Don't leave enticing items in your vehicle where thieves can see them. Instead, put your purchases under your car seat or in the trunk.

  • Always be aware of strangers and your surroundings. If you see any suspicious activity, alert security.

Be Safe on Thanksgiving, Be Insured

If you have a fire, your homeowners insurance will cover the loss. Your home insurance policy will also cover the theft of your personal belongings, even when that property is stolen from your person or your car. 

Finally, while standard auto insurance protects your financial stability when you cause injury to others or their property, only add-on comprehensive insurance covers your car if it gets stolen.

Comprehensive insurance replaces stolen cars.

If you're looking for home or car insurance or you're looking for a cheaper premiums by bundling both, SmartFinancial can compare all the policies in your area to find you the policy that best fits your insurance needs and budget. Some customers report saving up to 40% over their previous policy. For free, real-time home and auto insurance quotes, enter your zip code or call 855-214-2291.

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