This time of year is one of food, family and festivities of all kinds. But with all of the excitement around the holidays, we can easily forget the extra safety precautions needed to prevent any accidents or damage to your home and belongings. 

We’re not saying the holidays are bound for disaster, but we have some information on insurance coverage and preventing accidents for you to keep in mind as you prepare. 

Christmas tree in Sioux Falls

Possible Disaster: Tree Fire

Does insurance cover this? Yes, your homeowner’s insurance should cover tree fires

Whether you’ve decided to go with a real tree straight from a farm or a pre-strung plastic tree, both are flammable and both should be properly placed. 

Here are a few tips to best care for your tree and your home. 

  • If real, keep the tree hydrated. 

A dry tree is a more flammable tree. Make sure yours is getting enough water by putting some in its stand each day. 

  • Make sure the lights are in good condition (i.e. no worn wires, no broken bulbs). 

Wrapping worn or exposed lights around your tree could easily cause a tree fire.

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the house or at night before going to sleep. 

Leaving your tree’s lights on overnight or when you’re not there makes it much more likely that an accident could occur — and drive up your electric bill. 

  • Place the tree at least three feet away from any source of heat. 

That’s three feet away from any radiators, heating vents, fireplaces or candles. Your tree will look just as great in the safer location. 

A lit stove in Sioux Falls

Possible Disaster: Kitchen Fire

Whether you’re in charge of a whole three-course meal or  just one side dish, kitchen and cooking safety is important to keep in mind – especially when holiday distractions or guests are grabbing your attention. 

  • Keep your eyes on your cooking. 

Unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires, so try not to leave the kitchen while preparing your food. 

  • Keep kids at a distance. 

It’s nice when they want to help out or see what you’re doing, but the NFPA suggests having a safe zone three feet away from hot surfaces or where hot food is being prepared is best when children are present. 

Winter driving in Sioux Falls

Possible Disaster: Auto Accident / Auto Theft

Does insurance cover this? Ask your insurance company about Comprehensive Coverage

The roads can be  slick and car thieves don’t take off holidays. Standard auto insurance coverage might not cover all winter vehicle accidents or even your car getting stolen, so make sure to ask about Comprehensive Coverage for the holidays (and beyond).

Here are some tips on how to better prevent auto disasters.

  • Lock your vehicle. 

“But my neighborhood is usually safe!” “I always leave my car unlocked and it’s never been stolen.”  Just lock your doors. It’s one of the first things a car thief would notice and makes their crime much easier to commit.

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. 

I know you might be trying to hide gifts from people, but don’t leave shopping bags or expensive items in your vehicle unattended. This will provide a clear target for thieves. 

  • When navigating winter roads, slow down and stay alert. 

Your car being stolen or broken into isn’t the only auto worry during this time of year. Snow, wind, ice and other drivers on the road can make for dangerous conditions. Make sure to check what kind of accidents your auto insurance covers and travel carefully. 

Have Happy, Disaster-Free Holidays!

While Intek certainly hopes you’re able to avoid all of these holiday disasters and celebrate safely this year, remember to keep this information in mind while setting up your tree or driving to your aunt’s house this year. 

And if anything does happen, we are here to help clean up any fire damage or big holiday messes. For more home safety tips or more about insurance coverage, make sure to check out our blog