Tips to Prevent Home Disasters This Holiday Season

Historically, home disasters in the U.S. tend to spike during the holidays. For instance, in 2017 alone, the number of ER visits in the U.S. increased by a staggering 33.3% in just four days following Christmas. The top causes of holiday-related accidents include overindulgence, food poisoning, cooking and carving accidents, etc. Decoration-related accidents, for example, account for about 12,000 emergency department visits every year. Other common disasters during Christmas and New Year holidays include:


The number of reported cooking and candle fires is usually highest on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Common causes of these fires include unattended cooking, placing lit candles near decorations, careless smoking, malfunctioning of heating and lighting equipment, and electrical malfunctions. To help prevent fires during the holidays:

  • Install a fire alarm system
  • Use live Christmas trees and keep them hydrated
  • Dispose of dry Christmas trees
  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking and turn off the stove if you have to leave the room, even for a short time
  • Avoid cooking when you’re intoxicated or feeling dizzy
  • Have the electricity system, heating, and lighting equipment inspected before the holiday season
  • Keep fire sources away from decorations
  • Smoke responsibly


Thieves are generally busier during the holidays than at any other time of the year. For instance, New Year’s is the number one holiday for car thefts in the U.S. Additionally, the risk of burglary and porch piracy also increases during the winter holidays; hence, much care is required to prevent such robberies and break-ins. To prevent theft and burglary during the holidays:

  • Keep your doors and windows locked if you’re away
  • Install security cameras, burglar alarms, and motion detectors
  • Schedule package deliveries appropriately
  • Install anti-theft devices in your car
  • Don’t stay away from home for too long

Accidents Involving Holiday Guests

The standard homeowners insurance policy provides some liability coverage for third-party injuries and property damage. That means if a guest gets injured on your property, the medical component of your home insurance policy will cover the resulting medical costs up to the set liability limit. If you usually host parties or gatherings during the holidays, this policy can help protect you from liability claims emanating from the actions of your guests, including intoxicated guests. For instance, if a guest inflicts bodily injuries on another guest or a third party, your homeowners liability coverage will cover the resulting claims. Similarly, if your guest damages your neighbor’s property, your policy may cover the resulting damage up to a certain limit. As the host, it’s important to note that you’re liable for the actions of your guests. To prevent or minimize accidents involving holiday guests:

  • Ensure that your guest drinks responsibly
  • Ensure that intoxicated guests don’t drive themselves home
  • Clear snow and ice from pathways to prevent slips and falls
  • Keep the floor dry at all times
  • Have your home inspected before the holidays to ensure everything is in good condition
  • Serve non-alcoholic drinks
  • Install proper lightning to prevent injuries due to poor visibility

For complete peace of mind during the holidays, make sure to carry adequate homeowners insurance. Our experienced team at Burton A. Harris Insurance Agency has the expertise to help you get the right coverage for your property. Contact us today to get started!