The holiday season is here! Time to get into the spirit with friends and family by singing songs, watching the classic holiday programs, and celebrating with your guests at your home. Even with all the festivities, there can be unintended events that will turn your cheerful gathering into a liability nightmare. Reduce the chances of filing a claim this holiday season by following our tips.
As the temperature drops outside, you may want to warm up your home by using the fireplace or a space heater. To add a touch of coziness, some of us may light candles to enhance the atmosphere. Inattention to any of these items can lead to a destructive fire in your home. It sounds simple, but never leave a fire unattended. Have water close by in the event a spark escapes the fireplace screen and starts to smolder on a chair, curtain or rug. Be sure to check that your space heater is at least 3 feet away from other objects. Extinguish all lit candles in your home before going to bed as well as before leaving the house or leaving the room, particularly if there is a child or pet in the room. Candles should not be placed near flammable items such as curtains, sheets, or carpeting.
And of course, don’t forget to check your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly and that the batteries are fresh!
Unfortunately, no one is completely immune from theft and it can happen when you least expect it. Whether you are hosting an open house for the neighbors or leaving home for a holiday get away, secure your valuables in a personal safe or a locked room in your home. If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing an alarm system. In addition to notifying the authorities of an intrusion while you are away, your system may qualify for premium savings on your homeowner policy. With the gift giving season in full swing, if you have recently acquired new valuables, inform your insurance agent so that your homeowner insurance policy can be updated and your protection adequate.
The holidays are a busy time and can cause a lot of stress, especially on your furry companions. Pets, specifically dogs and cats, can become over-excited or territorial when unfamiliar individuals enter your home. Dog bites are a common cause of injury to guests and as the home/pet owner, you could be liable for resulting medical bills. Discuss with your insurance agent the breed of your pets as some of them may be prohibited for coverage under your policy.
Winter weather is back, which means slippery conditions from rain, ice, or snow. These weather nuisances may create hazards at your home. If you are hosting a holiday party this season, make sure your driveway, sidewalks, and porch are properly shoveled and salted. If you neglect this safety precaution and a guest falls and injures themselves, they may sue you for negligence, their medical costs or more.
Nothing could ruin a gathering, whether holiday related or not, more than the unanticipated damage a burst pipe could cause. For tips on how to prevent burst pipes, read this handy guide from our friends at Arbella Insurance. Review your home insurance policy to make sure you have adequate flood insurance; this will safeguard against paying out of pocket for expensive repairs to damages caused by flooding.
Accidents due to Alcohol Consumption
At most holiday parties, the spiked eggnog is the highlight of the evening. Under the Social Host Law in Massachusetts, you can be legally liable for injuries caused by someone who leaves your property and is involved in an automobile accident due to intoxication. To cover you in this type of situation, talk to your insurance agent to review your liability coverage. There are liquor liability policies available through Eastern Insurance for one day/night special events.
In addition, you can provide food and water to help your guests offset the impairing effects of alcohol. Make sure that guests who are drinking have a designated driver or a safe way home, like using Uber or Lyft. Remember — never serve alcohol to people under the age of 21.
During the holiday season, take care to protect what matters most to you. Follow our tips to minimize the potential dangers this festive season sometimes presents. If you have any question about this or any other insurance matter, please give us a call at (800) 333-7234 or visit us online at www.easterninsurance.com.