Whatever You Do, Do NOT Have a Griswold Christmas! 4 Ways to Avoid Holiday Mishaps

by | Dec 23, 2020 | Auto & Home

Most of us have watched the ever-so-popular movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and we all pretty much laughed mightily, as one disaster after another wreaked havoc on the Griswold family’s holiday.

Unfortunately, accidents like these happen regularly during the holidays. They are all too common in the real world and are no laughing matter at the end of the day. But, the good news is having the proper homeowners insurance coverage can minimize the financial damage of most disasters.

Here are a few holiday mishap scenarios that may (or may not) be covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. (The best advice is to avoid trouble before it begins!)

1. Your Beautiful Front Yard Christmas Display…
(Ooops… sets your yard aflame!)  Covered or Not Covered?

This accident is very common during the holidays and for the most part should be covered, but with some caveats. Trees, plants and shrubs are covered under standard homeowners insurance when damaged by fire. However, most policies limit coverage to 5% of your dwelling coverage — up to about $500 per item, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)

When decorating outside, only use lights and extension cords specified for the outdoors. And don’t overload outlets when creating your holiday display. Claims for electrical fires jump 22% during the holidays. Learn more about safety recommendations here

2. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…
(Ooops… burns down the house!) Covered or Not Covered?

For the most part, this could be covered by insurance, but make sure to read the fine print of your homeowners policy. Claims tied to fireplace-related fires more than double during the holiday season, according to various claim data. (Get winter holiday safety advice and free downloads here.)

The median cost of such a holiday claim ranges between $10,000 to $15,000. Fortunately, standard homeowners policies cover damage due to fire. But be sure your policy limits are sufficient to cover the full costs of rebuilding your home and replacing all of your belongings at today’s prices. If you’ve had the same policy in place for many years and the limits have not changed, even as you’ve made expensive purchases and renovations, then you might no longer have enough coverage.

Also, make time to create a home inventory of all your possessions, if you haven’t already done so. That inventory should include the estimated cost of each item to know whether you have enough coverage and to make filing a claim easier.  If you have inventory questions, contact a UA agent for assistance.

3. Great New Holiday Toys (& Cords) Strewn About the Room…
(Ooops… I tripped and broke my leg!) Covered or Not Covered?

Insurance coverage depends on your homeowners policy and who actually got hurt in the household. According to various claim data surveys, over 4,000 people are treated every winter for lacerations, sprains and (last but not least) from tripping over new cords. (See holiday related accident statistics here).

A better solution is to watch where you’re going! And, it never hurts to note the various locations of your local Urgent Care centers in case of an emergency.

4. Let’s Burn the Discarded Wrapping Paper In The Fireplace…
(Ooops… catches the room on fire!) Covered or Not Covered?

Fire claims do tend to be covered by your homeowners insurance, but make sure you know exactly what your policy covers or doesn’t cover. Keep in mind, if your chimney is found to be faulty, not up to code, or not well-kept your insurance company could deny your claim. Burning your wrapping paper in the fireplace may seem like a fun thing to do, but trust us, it’s not worth the risk.

Wrapping paper burns SO quickly and SO intensely, before you know it you could find yourself in very serious trouble in the blink of an eye. The type of ink and paper used in wrapping paper products are highly flammable so just don’t do it. Better to avoid this idea entirely!

Want to witness just how fast a Christmas fire can happen? Click to watch an eye-opening video we posted on our blog. It is mind-boggling!

From all of us at United Agencies, we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season. If you have questions about what your homeowners policy covers or need assistance with creating a home inventory, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Happy Holidays!

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