If you have ever been involved in an accident or been the victim of crime during the holidays, you know what a damper it can put on the season. Every year, there are headlines about terrible fires, accidents, and theft occurring in the days leading up to and immediately following the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. This year, we here at Ellis Insurance want to help keep our community as safe as possible. Continue reading to learn three of our top tips for protecting yourself and the ones you love as we close out the year.
1. Holiday Decorating
If you plan to decorate for a holiday gathering or party, be aware of the safety hazards that may be lurking. As the season goes on, a freshly cut Christmas tree may begin to dry up, presenting a fire hazard. Keep your tree well hydrated, checking its water daily. Any lights used on the tree should be rated for indoor use only, and you should replace any worn strands or non-working bulbs. As a general rule of thumb, you should never connect multiple extension cords together. Though it may seem efficient, this can overload your outlets and put your home at risk of fire.
Also, be extra vigilant with regard to candles. More house fires involving candles occur in December than any other time of the year. While they may set a nice ambiance and make your home smell fragrant, they could also lead to an unwanted claim on your homeowner’s insurance. If you must use candles, only use sturdy candle holders and keep them away from children and flammable objects. You might also consider using flameless candles and alternative home fragrances, such as wax warmers, which are generally safer than an open flame.
2. Protect Your Vehicle
Cars are major targets for thieves this time of year. Sometimes they are looking for expensive gifts hidden inside of them; more brazen crooks would rather take off with the car itself. As a precaution, never leave valuables in your car – especially in open sight. Also, you should only park in well-lit areas and never leave your car running unattended for any period of time.
Your homeowners or renters insurance typically cover personal belongings, such as gifts, that are stolen from your car. As for the car itself and any damage to it, talk with your independent insurance agent about an affordable car insurance policy with comprehensive coverage for theft and vandalism.
3. Stay Safe While Traveling
Traveling poses a risk any time of the year, but the holidays can be especially dangerous.
When you are away visiting friends and family and your home is unattended, it is a prime target for thieves. On the road, you are likely to encounter heavy traffic. It is also possible that you will be sharing the road with intoxicated drivers, dealing with treacherous weather, and there’s a chance you may even encounter a bit of road rage during what can be a time of stress. Before you get behind the wheel, take a few extra precautions.
First, make sure your vehicle is current on maintenance and contains an emergency kit with blankets, water, and anything you may need should you find yourself stranded for any period of time. Next, ask a neighbor or someone you trust to pick up your mail and keep an eye on your property. It is also a good idea to connect lights inside your home to a timer that will activate at various times each day.
When you do hit the road, be sure to do so early in anticipation of delays. The extra time will help you pay closer attention to the road and feel less pressure to arrive at your destination by a specific time. Avoid driving during times when it is likely there are more intoxicated drivers on the road, and never drive yourself if there is any question as to your ability. You might also want to consider alternative travel routes if traffic is particularly heavy. It may take longer to get to where you are going, but fewer cars will reduce your risk of collision while traveling.