First, did you know that electrical fires are a leading cause of household fires every year? In fact, over $14 million per year in direct property damage is caused by fires that started from Christmas trees and decorations. Common causes of electrical fires this time of year involve overloading circuits, broken lights, and improper use of extension cords. To prevent Christmas tree fires, be sure to regularly water your live tree (and not to if it’s artificial)! Check your lights and replace any burnt-out or broken lights to prevent electricity shortages and discard the strand of lights if there are any tears in the wire insulation. Don’t run extension cords under carpets or rugs and be sure to use “outside” specified extension cords for exterior holiday decorations. Don’t place candles or space heaters close to decorations (including the tree) and never leave them unattended. We know there are a lot of distractions while you are cooking and everyone is together but be mindful not to walk away from the stove while burners are active and have redundant timers set for items in the oven so you don’t forget to check what’s baking. And finally, test that your smoke detectors and their batteries are in working condition and make sure you have at least 1 unused and charged fire extinguisher in your home.
You have also likely already heard not to put the boxes of your big-ticket items out with your recyclables around the holidays because it alerts burglars what goodies Santa brought you. It’s good advice as the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is peak season for home burglaries. Which is we have another tip to pass along – you may want to reconsider increasing your personal contents coverage limits if any of your presents lean towards the expensive end this year because your policy might not cover those items. For example, the average homeowner’s policy includes jewelry coverage, but with a maximum limit per item of $1,000 and an aggregate (or total) limit of $5,000. If you have an item or more that is valued more than $1,000 a stand-alone policy for jewelry might be a better option because the limits correlate to each specific item. This means you will typically be reimbursed for the appraised amount instead of the minimal limit that is provided on your homeowner’s policy. Another benefit to stand-alone policies is that if you need to put a claim in for a specific piece of jewelry, you won’t have to put a claim in to your homeowner’s policy. This is especially helpful as most carriers won’t offer coverage or quotes if you have more than 1 nonweather-related claim in a 5-year history.
Other items you might consider scheduling coverage for could include collectibles, antiques, artisanal carpets/rugs, artwork, and electronics. If you have many of these items, a High-Value Homeowners policy may be a better option for you. However, experts estimate that as many as 40 percent of high-value homes are underinsured so be sure to speak with your agent regarding your options so we can find you the best coverage for your needs. We’re here to help!
We hope these helpful tips make your holiday season safer and more enjoyable. We hope you are able to spend time together with your loved ones, celebrating the past year and looking forward to all the promises of a new year!
Sending you warm wishes for a happy and safe holiday season from all of us at Jallad Insurance!