As this holiday season approaches, we understand the fatigue you may be feeling. For the past three seasons, we’ve been inundated with so many lists of what to do and what not to do; it’s almost comical yet unbearable at the same time. But we know the season comes with its challenges. So we’ve put together a reference guide to help keep some sanity to the madness.
Are you planning to blow it out on an expensive gift for a loved one this Christmas? If so, you should think about protecting it. Gifting a flashy watch, diamond necklace, or a vintage car is a surefire way to create an unforgettable holiday season for a partner, child, or close family member. However, that wonderful feeling can quickly turn sour should those gorgeous earrings go missing, or that magnificent piece of art gets stolen.
Give yourself, as well as the gift recipient, peace of mind by insuring your holiday gifts. You’ll avoid any heartbreak and can rest assured that your loved one will enjoy their impressive present for years to come.
Protecting Your Holiday Events
As the year comes to a close, there will be no shortage of holiday parties this season. No matter how small the planned event is, safety should come first. It’s understandable that due to the excitement around the holidays, safety may not be the first thing in people’s minds, but planning for potential mishaps will allow you to cover your bases and ensure that things can be taken care of in the case of an emergency. The main things that should be taken care of should be:
- Event Liability Insurance: The need for insurance can hardly be overstated.
- Alcohol Consumption: Due to the nature of liquor, this might be the most important part of planning for a safe night.
- Safety: There is a big potential for injury to your guests, especially when drinking in an unfamiliar place.
Prepare Your Home for the Holidays (and Holiday Guests!)
The holiday is a wonderful time — if your home is ready for it. Whether or not you’re hosting at your home this year, preventative maintenance is always a good idea as the weather turns cooler. You’ll fix small problems before they become big and big ones before they become catastrophes. Here are ten tips to help:
- Look up. Examine your roof closely. Moss should be removed and debris cleared from gutters and downspouts. Repairing any damage is crucial before winter weather is in full swing.
- Look down. Check for signs of animals and insects around your home and garage, including the basement and crawlspace. If you need help getting unwanted guests out, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional.
- Keep things warm. Heat escapes through leaks around windows and doors, so seal up any drafty areas. Outside, put covers over faucets before temperatures drop.
- Keep things dry. Drain outdoor hoses, faucets, and irrigation systems. Look in the basement and crawlspace for wet spots. And make sure your water heater or boiler aren’t leaking.
- Clear the air (or vents and filters, at least). When was the last time you checked your dryer vent? You should take a look at attic vents and exhaust ducts as well. And change that furnace filter, too!
- Take a walk. Cracks in your driveway or walkways will only get bigger, so fix them soon. If your deck has signs of wear, make repairs while the weather is still good.
- Get a tune-up. You or a professional should clean and tune your furnace, boiler, and/or water heater, as well as your oven and range.
- Don’t play with fire. Before building your first fire (indoor or outdoor) of the season, check for soot or creosote build-up.
- Don’t play with fire extinguishers, either. But check them to ensure they still have pressure. Don’t have fire extinguishers? Put them on your shopping list, ideally one for each floor.
- Don’t forget those smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Replace batteries when needed, and regularly test that alarms are working.
Holiday Travel Tips
The holiday season is the busiest six weeks on American roads. If you are traveling this year, there are a few things you can do beforehand to make sure you’re safe while on the road, as well as keep your home safe while you’re away. Here are five travel tips to ensure your trip actually goes as well as you make it look on social media!
Check your car and home insurance policies.
Before you embark on a road trip, it’s a great idea to get ahold of your insurance policy to check what exactly is covered and what isn’t. Your car insurance will pay if you are involved in an accident, but will that cover the full cost of your damage? In this regard, it’s useful to know about umbrella insurance, a special type of insurance that covers the shortfall if the main policy pays out less than your actual damages.
Apart from that, for example, you might be taking your elderly parents with you on the trip. Will their property be covered if you are involved in an accident?
Also, have another look at your home insurance policy. Make sure the coverage will be adequate if disaster strikes while you are on vacation. You might, have bought a new TV or computer since last holiday, or perhaps expensive jewelry. Before you leave, double-check that you have added all of those to the personal property section of your home insurance policy.
Considerations when you tow a trailer, camper, or boat.
Although car insurance is compulsory in most US states, it’s not compulsory to have insurance for a trailer or a boat (particularly not if it’s a boat with a small, under 50 horsepower engine). And in some states, you also don’t need insurance if you tow a trailer-like camper.
However, the damage can be devastating if you are involved in an accident while towing any of these. It’s simply not worth skimping on insurance when the risk is so high. Talk to your insurance agent about an affordable policy.
Don’t invite burglars via social media.
Most of us have heard horror stories about would-be burglars who scour social media at this time of the year, looking for people who write about their upcoming trips and vacations. I mean, let’s think “Home Alone” here for a minute, and that was before Insta. Just think how easy you will make life for them when you also post the name of your town and a picture of your garden with the house in the background on your Facebook or Instagram account. As much as this is an ‘eye roll’ statement, it’s better to wait until after you have returned from your trip to post all your exciting pictures and news.
Don’t let your home shout, “My owners have left me!”
Learn to think like a burglar. What would you do if you are looking for a home to rob? The first thing that comes to mind is to find a home where there’s not a single light to be seen night after night. Another sure sign is a mailbox that’s overflowing with mail and newspapers that were never picked up.
A good security system that is properly armed will go a long way to deter burglars. So will one or more lights on inside the house. Add to that a kind neighbor who picks up the mail and newspapers daily, and your home will suddenly not be so attractive to burglars. You can also request a mail hold from USPS.
Don’t let the weather ruin your trip.
We all know how horrible weather can ruin any trip. But it can do more than that. If a storm hits your town while you are hundreds or thousands of miles away, will your home be ready for it? Before you leave, check the weather forecast. If bad weather is predicted, make sure the gutters are clean and that all leaks have been fixed. Also, trim shrubbery and trees. In short, do what you have to do to make sure your home will be able to weather the storm without you.
We wish each of you a safe and happy holiday season. And as always, contact First Beaches Insurance to discuss all of your insurance needs.