NOTE: Looking to protect your vacation property? Visit our page on cottage insurance, instead.
Do you sing carols during the holidays? We do – we love karaoke so much we wrote this home insurance checklist. Sing along and find out how to protect your home this holiday season.
How to protect your house this holiday season
The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration, but one small mishap can ruin the entire night, or maybe even the entire season. That's why it's important to protect your home from holiday risks, such as candle fires and slippery driveways. Here are 12 items to check off your list before you begin your celebrations.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #1 – outdoor lights and extension cords
Outdoor cords use tough exteriors made to endure moisture and temperature changes. Using indoor extension cords outside can lead to overheating and worse, fire. Grounded (three-prong) extensions cords reduce the risk of electrical shock and fire. The ground, or rounded part of the connection, should be plugged into an outlet, rated for outdoor use, with a protected cover. Do not use a power bar outside, or at least make sure it’s properly rated for outdoor use.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #2 – candles
If you’re using candles, be mindful of the damage they could cause. Keep them away from toddlers, use wide bases to keep them steady, and blow them out before going to bed. Personally, I like a nice pine candle – #supportlocal.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #3 – new 9V batteries
To replace in my smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, of course. Thank you, my dear love.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #4 – a fire extinguisher
If your turkey or tree catch fire, you’ll want the necessary tools to put it out quickly and effectively. The worst times make the best stories when there is a positive outcome. For about $30, you can buy one. I made use of mine a month ago, what a problem solver.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #5 – a water shut off
Ensure your exterior water line is closed and not dripping. Then, empty that water line if you can. If it’s not possible, or you’re not sure how – contact a plumber to have one installed. The pipe carrying your water is meant to carry flowing water. If the water has nowhere to go, your pipe bursts. Without a water shut off, you’ll have a flooded basement. If a pipe bursts during the winter season, you may have difficulty filing a flood insurance claim.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #6 – clean eavestroughs
Make sure your eavestroughs are clear of debris and the downspouts are pouring onto soil or into a rain barrel. You don’t want them pouring out on to the side of your house. Water always moves to its lowest point which could be the foundation in your house, and if it leaks through, it could hit your basement floors. Keep snow, and its eventual thaw, away from your foundation by shovelling. If water seeps through your foundation, home insurance won’t protect you unless you have overland water coverage.
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On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #7 – A shovel and some salt
Don’t let snow sit on your sidewalk and turn into slippery ice. You’ll spend more time removing hardened snow then you will just shovelling it while it’s coming down (or shortly thereafter). Be prepared with shovels, ice scrapers, and salt. Shovel and salt your driveway, sidewalk, and walkway to your house and its steps. You don’t want someone to file a liability claim against you for slipping on, or off, your steps, and injuring themselves.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #8 – a smart thermostat
if you’re travelling for the holidays, monitor the heat in your home through an app to protect those pipes from freezing and bursting. In fact, insurers are waking up, slowly, to the idea of how a smart home can reduce your home insurance.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #9 – a kitchen timer
Don’t leave grilling, frying, or broiling food unattended. I know, the kids are screaming and running around, your in-laws are bothering you, and someone spiked the bowl of egg-nog. Still, leaving food unattended and you risk fire or worse, a dried out turkey. Also, keep your surfaces clutter free so you have somewhere to put that hot pan when you take it out.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #10 – a well-watered tree
The good news is whether your tree is real or fake, it’s rare for them to catch fire. If you’re using a real one for the fresh pine air, keep it well watered and away from sources of heat. Never use candles on the tree.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Holiday home insurance tip #11 – a checklist of insurable items
If it’s been a while since you reviewed your home insurance. That $2000 TV you bought in ‘05 may not be worth as much, anymore. Update your contents insurance on your home insurance policy. With gifts, you can take pictures of the gifts with their receipts and consider storing them in the cloud for easy access from anywhere. Should a fire or thief rob you of those gifts, you can make a claim with digital proof.
You’ll also want to keep personal records – passports, birth certificates, etc. in a safe place. Photo backups are good here, too. If you can put everything in a fireproof, and locked safe, even better.
On the twelth day of Christmas, my true love gave me to me
Holiday home insurance tip #12 – a food delivery app
If you’re intoxicated, best to order in. You’re not ruining a home-cooked meal, you’re keeping the fun times going.
The bottom line
No matter how you choose to celebrate the holidays, put safety first and leave your worries behind. Stay protected this year – be safe and remember, ‘tis the season to be merry, not worry!