The warmth of the holiday season takes on new meaning when home insurance claims data are analyzed.
Insurance claims for home fires rise 15 percent during the holidays, with candles and Christmas trees involved in many of the blazes, according to Allstate Insurance Co.
A new survey released by the insurer highlights a variety of holiday pressures and changes in routine, which can leave homeowners vulnerable to perils.
Among the findings in the insurer's claims data:
- Candles are the most likely holiday-related cause of a home fire. Christmas week is among the top three weeks of the year for candle-related claims. The median cost for a candle-sparked fire is almost $50,000.
- Turkey fryer-related fire claims triple during the holiday season. The median cost of a turkey fryer-related claim is almost $29,000.
- Fireworks-related claims double around New Year's Eve, with the median cost of such claims nearing $14,000.
- The median cost of a Christmas tree-related fire claim is more than $100,000.
- The most costly holiday fire claim since 2008 involved an artificial Christmas tree that caught fire in a homeowner's living room. The loss totaled almost $2.4 million.
In addition, claims for theft increase by 7 percent during the holidays, and sewer backup claims rise by 19 percent, Allstate said.
According to the survey, 60 percent of consumers try new cooking and decorating techniques during the holidays, and 55 percent who drink alcohol say they drink more than usual during the holidays. More than half, 54 percent, travel overnight during the holidays, leaving their homes susceptible to risk, and 71 percent leave delivered packages outside their homes, which could attract attention from thieves.
Allstate offers these tips:
- Install new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Dispose of cooking grease properly to avoid sewer backups.
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Keep your Christmas tree away from heat sources. Select a fresh natural tree or an artificial tree labeled as fire resistant.
- Don't leave purchases in the passenger compartment of an unattended vehicle.
- Don't advertise shopping trips or purchases on social media.