'Tis the season to be jolly, but homeowners should be aware of the potential hazards the holiday season could bring to their properties.
Homeowners insurance claims can increase from 30% to 80% during the holidays, said Bill Martin, CEO of Plymouth Rock Home Insurance Group.
Fires, for instance, are common throughout the holiday season. According to the American Red Cross, the peak months for house fires are December and January, and they usually start in the kitchen, from heating sources, or even in decorations.
Which Mortgage reached out to Martin to find out more about these risks and what homeowners should do to keep their homes safe and secure this holiday season.
Which Mortgage: What are the potential hazards homeowners should be aware of this holiday season?
Martin: Beyond fires, homeowners should be aware of the potential liability that comes with the winter weather. Nobody wants to see a caroler slipping on ice on their front walkway. This time of year also sees people increasingly on ladders putting up decorations and at risk of falling. Further, doorstep thieves that steal packages are also something to be wary of leading up to the holidays.
For all of these reasons and more, it is not surprising that Plymouth Rock data shows a 30-80% increase in home insurance claims during the holiday season. Homeowners should make sure they are taking the right precautions surrounding holiday activities and have a home insurer that will support them if something goes wrong either to their property or the people on it.
Which Mortgage: What are some of the things homeowners should do to keep their homes safe and secure?
Martin: Accidents are inevitable. While there are obvious steps homeowners should take to ensure the safety of their home and the items and people inside it, like blowing out candles when they leave the room, turning Christmas lights off the tree when they go to bed, and throwing down salt on an icy front stoop, homeowners should make sure their home insurance policy covers these risks.
Homeowners should review their existing insurance policy to make sure they know what accidents are covered — and, more importantly, what accidents are not covered. If a homeowner finds that many risks to their home aren't covered by home insurance, now is the time to shop around.
Which Mortgage: Do you think only a few homeowners try to review their insurance policies? What should be done to raise awareness about potential hazards during the holiday season?
Martin: According to a survey from ValuePenguin, nearly half of homeowners don’t know what damages their insurance policy covers. With this eye-opening statistic, more insurance providers should take it upon themselves to educate their customers about the various hazards during the holiday season – especially the hazards that might not be covered by their current plan.
Which Mortgage: What are some of the essential coverages that homeowners should know about?
Martin: Throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season, homeowners should check their home insurance policy and ensure it covers the following:
- The structure of a home when it is damaged by inclement weather
- Personal belongings, for the doorstep thief stealing packages
- Liability, for when the front stoop isn’t salted and a holiday visitor falls and gets hurt
- Medical payments, for the visiting guest that breaks her leg after attempting to hang string lights
- Fires, for the unsuccessful deep-fried turkey