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Hazard Prevention

Follow these steps to a safe and accident-free holiday season.

by StatePoint
Photography by ronstik / iStock via Getty Images Plus

As the holidays approach, you might be hosting guests, shopping for gifts and decorating your home. While all these activities can bring a lot of joy into the season, they can also bring an increase in risks. Prepare by following these six tips to prevent damage.

1. Install a smart doorbell. Whether you want to see who just arrived or help keep packages secure, a smart doorbell will keep you updated on all activities in front of your home. From package deliveries to carolers, you can easily view (and communicate) with your visitors, even if you aren’t home.

2. Decorate carefully. As pretty as those lights might be, they can be a tripping hazard. What’s more, overheating lights can trigger a fire in seconds, especially in a dry environment, such as near a parched tree. On Erie Insurance’s YouTube channel, they show how fast a Christmas tree goes up in flames and have tips on how to avoid fires, including to check string lights for any frayed wires and to always turn off lights when you aren’t home.

3. Prepare for the unexpected. As temperatures drop, prepare your home for potential damage. Bad weather can trigger a weak tree to fall, potentially on your house, while cold temperatures can cause frozen pipes, which could cost thousands of dollars in water damage if the pipes burst. Be sure to keep your homeowners insurance up-to-date so you are prepared should any seasonal damage occur. To prevent that damage and a costly claim, survey your property and even call in experts to check trees, pipes and other possible hazards.

4. Stay safe on the road. The winter season carries driving risks. Not only may roads be slick and icy, but holiday shoppers are often stressed and frazzled. On roads, and particularly in shopping centers and mall parking lots, slow down and stay alert to avoid a fender-bender. As an added precaution, be sure to keep your auto insurance up-to-date in case of damage. Your insurance company might offer options to help you tighten your wallet during an expensive season. Insurance companies generally offer bundling of car and home insurance to potentially save you money.

5. Mingle merry—and safely. Holiday parties can be fun, but make sure you have a plan for getting home safely. And if you’re hosting the party, be aware that in most states party hosts can be held liable for their guests’ actions behind the wheel. So be sure your guests have a safe ride home.

6. Be smart online. If you’d rather keep your comfy pants on and do your holiday shopping online, be aware of where your data might be susceptible and only shop on reputable sites. Check your homeowner policy for identity recovery coverage that can help you if you are the unfortunate victim of identity fraud.

Whether you are having a party or going on a shopping spree, being safe and prepared for the holidays is key to avoiding any accidents, injuries and incidents.