For most families, December equates to more parties and get-togethers, shopping excursions, and marathon baking sessions meant to sweeten time spent with friends and loved ones. But new insurance claims data from Allstate show that holiday-related activities pose increased threats to home safety and security for Arizona residents.
According to the Allstate report, Arizona theft claims are 46 percent more likely to occur this time of year than the national average.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities,” says Bob Coudret, an Allstate agency owner in Peoria, “so use caution and think through potential safety hazards in [your] home this holiday season.”
For instance, to help prevent thefts, don’t tout your shopping trips or fancy purchases on social media. Oversharing on Facebook, Twitter or other networks can give burglars tempting information about your new valuables, and may even give them unintended details about times when you’ll be away from home.
When you’re out buying gifts, don’t leave purchases visible in your car. Tuck them away in the trunk of your vehicle or cover them with a blanket, away from prying eyes, and remember to lock your vehicle so gifts can’t be easily stolen.
Take those same precautions at home. If your Christmas tree is positioned in front of a large window and you’ve stowed some presents beneath its boughs, know that burglars may see this as a temptation. Check that all windows are locked and close any blinds or curtains before leaving home.
In addition to thefts, the Allstate claims report reveals that Arizonans are also at risk for other holiday-related perils. Among the biggest? Sewer backups, which spike 28 percent for Arizona homeowners during the holidays.
The City of Phoenix Water Services Department says grease is the main contributor of sewer problems, so if you’re frying turkeys or using a lot of cooking oils in your recipes, follow the department’s advice and allow the grease to cool, and then toss it in the garbage (instead of running it down sinks or flushing it in toilets).
Home fires are another holiday threat for Arizonans, rising about four percent during the season, according to the Allstate claims data. The Phoenix Fire Department says candles, Christmas trees, and holiday lights are all potential threats, so take extra steps to help keep your dwelling fire-safe.
The PFD suggests keeping candles out of reach from children or away from presents, decorations and other items that can catch fire (including Christmas trees). When it comes to picking a live Christmas tree, look for those with needles that spring back when you bend them. Going with one of those trendy metallic trees? PFD recommends avoiding the use of electric lights on those—if the insulation is damaged on the light strand,s it can cause the entire tree to be charged with electricity. Instead, take the PFD’s suggestion to use colored spotlights above or beside a metal tree.
Increased responsibilities and changes in activities, behaviors and routines may contribute to the spike in home perils during the holiday season, but Allstate agent Coudret says it’s a matter of awareness.
“It’s natural to get excited and go the extra mile to make this time special for your loved ones,” he says, “but also beware of potential mishaps and protect your holiday home to make the very most of this season.”