During this time of year, most people take part in activities that have the potential to increase risk for your loved ones and your property. While most people are concentrating on spending time with friends and family, buying gifts, and organizing travel over the holidays, it's equally crucial to maintain the security and safety of your property during this potentially hectic time.
Indeed, the holiday season may be stressful, and the possibility of a fire, theft, or catastrophe only serves to heighten it. However, there are several measures you may take to reduce anxiety and gain peace of mind.
How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays
Here we share four suggestions to help you keep your home and property safe during the holiday season.
#1 Keep Your Holiday Lights Off the Naughty List
All those twinkling lights may put you in the holiday spirit, but they can also spark a fire. Use caution when purchasing the strings of lights for decorating and make sure they are flame-resistant. Prior to placing them on your tree, examine your older lights closely. Be prepared to replace any lights that have frayed wires, damaged sockets, or cords that are tightly coiled.
When choosing electrical products, look for a certification mark like UL or ELT, and be cautious to avoid overloading extension cords. Keep all pets and children away from any electrically powered decorations or light strings. Switch holiday lights off when leaving your property or when going to bed each evening.
#2 Take Precautions with Decorations and Holiday Trees
Pulling out the treasured ornaments from your family archives may bring a smile to your face, but be aware that older decorations may have been painted with lead paint. If you have the slightest suspicion that lead paint could have been used, choose to treasure those ornaments in private.
In addition to lead paint concerns, make certain that you only use ornaments that are nonflammable or fire-resistant. Also, avoid decorations that have sharp edges or are trip hazards if you have small children or elderly family members in your home.
Additionally, moving parts or tiny parts are a choking hazard and should be kept away from young children. Keep any loose parts in a safe place.
If you decide on an artificial tree, look for a “fire-resistant” label, and no matter the type, place your tree up high and away from any heating elements including portable heaters, radiators, and fireplaces. About one out of every six Christmas tree fires are caused by heat sources that are too close to the tree. Make sure to water live trees regularly and check to be sure there are no decorations blocking any entrances or exits to the home.
#3 Keep Your Property Secure
Criminals may be keeping an eye on your property while you are busy taking part in holiday activities. So, when leaving your house, take additional care to secure all of the doors and windows.
It is recommended that you leave a TV on so that it appears that someone is home. Also, consider keeping your lamps on a timer so that they turn on when the sun goes down. Security cameras inside your property give you an extra sense of security, and it is best to also have exterior cameras placed in the front and rear of your property as well.
Take care and do not blatantly display goods or gifts near windows where they can be easily seen. If you plan to be gone for an extended amount of time, ask someone to pick up your mail or newspapers so that it is not obvious that you are away from your property. It’s a good general idea to have a trusted friend or family member check on the property frequently while you are away.
#4 Ensure Your Guests’ Safety
Consider these safety suggestions as you get ready for visitors:
As your guests fill your home over the holidays, be aware of the flow of traffic, the ease of access to all exit points, and any trip hazards that may exist throughout the entertaining areas. Remove all unnecessary items that may cause anyone to trip or be trapped in the home should the unthinkable occur.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the main cause of house fires in the United States. The kitchen is where two out of every five house fires begin, so make the choice to never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking is taking place.
An Ounce of Prevention
This holiday season, you can help safeguard your family and property by taking a few simple steps. A proactive safety strategy is worth its weight in eggnog around the holidays as it provides peace of mind. You'll feel more at ease attending holiday festivities knowing that you've taken precautions to protect your property and belongings.
If you have any questions regarding keeping your property secure throughout the year, if you need assistance filing an insurance claim or would like a free policy review, contact Reliant Insurance Adjusters. We wish you a peaceful, safe and happy holiday.
Owning a property entails many responsibilities. In addition to the financial commitment of a mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance, there is also the duty of property maintenance. Whether you intend to sell your property or not, consistent and thorough maintenance is a crucial investment and can help save you money.
Many property owners are unaware that they must maintain their property as a condition of their home or business insurance policy. The majority of insurance policies specifically state that "neglect" or "failure to properly maintain the property" will cause problems if damage occurs. In simple terms, things that fail or break due to “neglect” are not covered by your insurance policy.
Your property will have multiple areas that need maintenance for 2023, some of which may be obvious and others which are not. However, the majority of areas can be addressed with simple routine checks. With these consistent checks and maintenance, you can help prevent costly and frustrating issues from occurring.
The Importance of Property Maintenance
Routine, preventative, corrective, and cosmetic maintenance are all simple ways to manage the upkeep of your property. We have seen it all as public adjusters, and we are aware of the value and significance of property maintenance.
Regular maintenance will decrease the likelihood that you will ever need to make an insurance claim. However, we are here to assist you if you ever find yourself in a position where you must make that decision.
Here are five quick and inexpensive items to add to your maintenance checklist:
#1 Maintain Trees and Large Shrubs
You should cut off any loose branches and check the condition of the trees you have around your property before they have a chance to cause damage. Any trees that appear to be unstable, should have their trunks anchored to the ground or completely removed before that unexpected storm hits.
In fact, if you own property in Florida, you probably realize how critical tree trimming is, especially before hurricane season. Although it might not be the most glamorous chore on your maintenance list, this straightforward task can help avoid hurricane debris damage as well as diminish the chance of pest problems.
#2 Check Window Seals and Doors
Your window seals can deteriorate just like any other component of your home. Every year, check the seals on your windows and doors. You can lessen the stress on your HVAC systems and lengthen their lifespan by making sure that every area of your property is properly sealed. This will also help prevent weather-driven rain from damaging your property through cracks or gaps in windows or doors.
#3 Keep Your HVAC Systems Clean
Maintaining your HVAC system is another crucial item for your 2023 maintenance checklist. It’s a good idea to have your HVAC system checked and cleaned twice a year while the lines should always be cleared, and the filter should be changed every one to two months.
It is also a good idea to add fans in your kitchen and baths if you do not already have them installed. By doing so, you can lessen the likelihood of mold growth by reducing the amount of moisture that accumulates inside your home as well as contribute to good air flow for your HVAC system.
#4 Check Plumbing and Drainage Systems
Checking your plumbing and drainage systems is another important item to put on your maintenance checklist. Numerous factors, including roots and deposit buildup, can damage your plumbing, causing unexpected water damage at inconvenient times.
Check for leaks on a regular basis under your kitchen sink cabinet and bathroom vanity cabinets. You may choose to partner with a qualified plumber to design a maintenance schedule if you need assistance with correctly maintaining your plumbing and drainage system.
#5 Clean Refrigerator Coils
At least once a year, cleaning refrigerator coils with a vacuum will help keep your refrigerator operating efficiently. You would simply remove the front panel and vacuum any dust, dirt, or pet hair as these coils are typically located at the bottom of the refrigerator where these elements like to collect. Consult your owner’s manual if you don't know where the coils on your specific unit are located.
Property Maintenance and Prevention
When it comes to upkeep and repairs, there are areas of a property that require more focus than others. Preventative measures and yearly maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your property safe and functioning properly.
Making a yearly maintenance checklist is a preventative measure you can use to make sure your property is in tip-top shape. If you are unsure of which areas of your property need upkeep, you may want to engage a specialist to conduct a thorough assessment and identify any potential problems.
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters we can assist you. Whether you need make a list of improvements, or document the current condition of your property before or after a loss. To find out how we can help, contact us for more information.