A Rundown of the Season’s Dangers — and Why You Need Insurance For Holiday Hazards

It’s the most dangerous time of the year, but NYC home insurance can protect you, loved ones and precious gifts

Christmas lights are beautiful but can be dangerous, too, if you're not careful. From 'Arriva436,' Wikimedia Commons.

The very things that fill our minds with lovely holiday images — candles in the windows, fowl in the oven, houses bedecked with lights — can, sadly, touch off disaster.

Any of the above can start a fire, the most common and costly kind of holiday-related mishap. Each winter, an estimated 108,400 residential building fires start in the United States, killing nearly 1,000 and causing $1.7 billion in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The holidays bring other risks, too: injury from hanging decorations in the home, for example.

It’s always wise to review your homeowners’, co-op and condo and other renters’ policies, and your liability coverage, to make sure you’re covered for any holiday hazard. It’s smart to take some common-sense precautions, too:

A decorated Christmas tree is a delight for adults and children, but take care breakable ornaments are hung high and secure on the tree. Public domain photo, Wikimedia Commons.

  • If you have a fireplace, move stockings, decorations and anything else flammable off the mantle before starting a fire and always use the fireplace screen. Don’t burn wrapping paper, which burns hot and can throw sparks.
  • Keep a close eye on the oven and stovetop when cooking holidays feasts, and turn pot handles inward to lessen the risk of knocking something over. (This is good advice any time of the year.)
  • Double-check electrical outlets to make sure they’re not overloaded and check extension cords to make sure they’re not frayed or damaged. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from space heaters and move candles away from anything that might burn.
  • Hang breakable ornaments high on the tree to keep them out of reach of young children.
  • Carefully dispose of any wrapping or boxes to reduce risk to children.
  • If you plan to host one or more holiday parties, check your policy for “social host liability,” a kind of coverage that protects a party host from liability when a guest who drinks at your party causes injury to others. Typical homeowners’ policies provide such coverage, but you should think about hiring a bartender who can regulate the flow of alcohol and keep an eye out for guests who need a ride home.

We at Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., have been through a lot of holiday seasons in the city, and we know the special hazards holidays can bring — and happiness, too. Knowing you’re covered for any possibility is one of the keys to being able to sleep in heavenly peace during the season. If you’re unsure about your coverage, check us out at gothambrokerage.com, or call or email us, and we’d be happy to provide you with a quote — and that all-important holiday peace of mind.

Jeff Schneider
(212) 406-7300

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