Be festive, but stay safe too
Christmas: a mix of high expectations, too much food and booze, and families trapped (wedged by Boxing Day) in a confined space. A poll from a couple of years ago found that couples will have an average of 124 arguments in December. It’s no wonder that Christmas is the most stressful time of the year.
It’s also the most accident prone. Workplace accidents rocket up (think of all the extra seasonal workers, drafted in for a short period and unfamiliar with a company’s safety protocols). Every festive period the NHS sees 80,000 people for things like falls, cuts and burns, including about 1000 who sustain tree-related injuries and 350 who are hurt by Christmas lights.
It’s not surprising then that we see a lot of claims in January, which is why it is so important to make sure that your household insurance is up to date and get any questions about cover answered by your broker. If not, and something does go wrong in the festive season, January will become a strong contender for most stressful month in 2014.
Prevention though is better than cure, so here are some tips for staying safe this Christmas:
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… Clear snow and ice from nearby paths and entrances to your home. Remove overhanging dead tree branches, and check your gutters are clear. If possible, keep snow off the roof with a snow rake, but never climb on to your roof to clear it.
But the fire is so delightful… Keep your home heated to a minimum of 65°F/19°C, even when you’re not in. This should stop the pipes freezing. Identify the main water shutoff to your home – if the pipes do burst then you can minimise the damage by shutting the water off quickly.
Driving home for Christmas… Many people visit family or go away for Christmas, leaving their homes empty. Be careful about posting on social media about when you will be away, consider installing automatic light timers so it looks like your home is occupied and, if possible, put valuables in a safe or the bank.
Santa Claus is coming to town… Most policies increase the limit for the weeks around Christmas, but it is important to notify your client manager as soon as possible of any expensive new gifts.
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree – Having stocked up for parties, check if your policy includes deep freeze cover and whether you need to increase the limit to cover the extra food.
Katie Small is Head of Private Wealth for R K Harrison Insurance Services