Ensuring a Safe Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie and coffeeThanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the blessings that we have in life. But unfortunately, it can also be a holiday that can see some costly insurance claims. From cooking accidents and injuries, to house fires and travel safety issues, below we've mapped out how you can have a safe and protected holiday season this year. 

Prevent Fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve. In 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, and unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. 

How to prevent fires and other injuries in the kitchen:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the hot stove. 
  • Be cautious around the steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee as these could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child or are laying in water prior to plugging them in.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button. 
  • Make sure you have timers set so food doesn't burn and potentially set off smoke alarms or worse, cause a fire. Keep the timer next to you so you don't miss it over loud conversations or other noise.
  • Don't wear billowy clothing that could come in contact with heat and flames. 

Deep frying a turkey:

  • Turkey fryers can lead to severe burns or other injuries, and property damage, even if you're extremely careful. Deep-frying a turkey requires a substantial amount of hot oil which can splash, spill or combust. Even if you deep-fry your turkey outside, you should still be incredibly cautious. 
  • You can check out these helpful tips on how to safely deep-fry your turkey this year. And remember, don't leave your deep fryer unattended and keep children away from the frying area. To reduce your risk, consider buying a deep-fried turkey from your local grocery store or a restaurant.

Review your home and health insurance policy:

As with any major holiday or life event, it's a good idea to review your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy and your health insurance policy to fully understand what is or isn't covered in case of an accident so that there aren't any surprise in the event you have to file a claim.  

Avoid Car Accidents

It's widely reported that the week of Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year, with millions of Americans traveling. This means the likelihood of getting in a car crash increases exponentially. 

How to stay safe on the roads:

  • When behind the wheel, do not text and drive or engage in other distracted driving behaviors such as eating, putting on makeup or messing with the radio.
  • No matter what time of year, you should never drink and drive. Not only could it cost your life, or the life of someone else, a drunk driving offense will cause your insurance premiums to rise. If you're planning on drinking on Thanksgiving, arrange for a designated driver or use a car service. 
  • Be mindful of who you hand your keys over to as well. Even if you're watching your alcohol intake, your family member offering to run to the grocery store for the missing ingredient may not be as sober as you think. It's always a good idea to limit loaning out your car. You may be on the hook as the insured if they get in an accident.
  • Give yourself extra time. Weather is often bad this time of year and with additional cars on the road, this is a Thanksgiving recipe for disaster if you're rushing or stressed to make up time in rain or ice.
  • Secure food and other items. The last thing you want is additional hazards distracting you while driving. Prevent food from sliding around and ensure everything has tight lids. 
  • Protect your pets. If your furry friend will be traveling with you, use a strapped-in harness, crate, or other safety devices to keep them in one place. If you have to brake suddenly, this can avoid possible injuries to you and your pet.
  • Pack a roadside emergency kit. This is a good idea year-round, but especially in inclement weather and times when AAA or other roadside services may take longer to get to you. 

Review your auto insurance policy:

While car insurance coverage can't prevent an accident, it can cover costs for vehicle damage and injuries. If you're renting a car, determine what your policy will or will not cover and consider rental car insurance if necessary.

Protecting Your Home

While the holidays are considered the most wonderful time of the year, if your home gets broken into by thieves, then it won't be such a wonderful time. 

How to protect your home and deter break-ins:

  • Keep your travel plans off social media. Consider waiting until you're back in town to share photos and updates 
  • Put your lights on a timer and use motion detectors for outdoor lights.
  • Get a safe for small valuables such as jewelry and family heirlooms.
  • Ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home and pick up any mail so it doesn't pile up and tip off burglars. 
  • As an added precaution, invest in an outdoor security camera that you can monitor from anywhere. 

Review your home insurance policy:

Homeowner's insurance should help recover costs in the instance of a break-in. Hopefully, you'll never be the victim of a home burglary, but you should be aware of what your homeowner's policy covers so there are no surprises. You should also complete a home inventory list. This will come in handy if a robbery does take place and help you to accurately expedite the claims process.