Allstate Data Shows Hazards Hit Close to Home During Holiday Season

November 20, 2013

New insurance claims data from the Allstate Insurance Company shows an average of 67,500 homeowners insurance claims occur during the holidays, and some threats to home security and safety rise significantly during the holiday season. A new survey also highlights how holiday pressures and changes in activities, behaviors and routines can leave homeowners vulnerable to home perils.

Christmas tree with gifts“The holidays are very busy for families and many have significant changes in the dynamics of their daily lives during this time,” said Kathy Mabe, president of the Western Territory for Allstate. “It’s important to understand how the holiday season can increase the risks to your home’s safety and security and to take the steps needed to keep your home hazard-free.”

The claims information indicates that holiday-related activities can cause one of the biggest holiday home hazards – fire – and the losses can be quite large:

  • Overall, home fire claims jump 15 percent during the holiday season.
  • Candles are the most likely holiday-relatedcause of a home fire. In fact, Christmas week is among the top three weeks of the year for candle-related claims. The median cost for candle-related claims is almost $50,000.
  • On average, there are three times more turkey fryer claims during the holiday season than any other time of the year. The median cost for turkey fryer-related claims is almost $29,000.
  • Around New Year’s Eve, (last week of December through first week in January) there are nearly twice as many claims caused by fireworks. The median cost for fireworks-related claims is nearly $14,000.
  • Christmas trees are another holiday-related fire hazard that may result in costly damages. The median cost for Christmas tree-related claims is more than $100,000.
  • Since 2008, the most costly holiday fire involved an artificial Christmas tree in the homeowners’ living room. The total loss amount cost nearly $2.4 million.

In addition to fire claims, the holidays lead to significant increases in other types of claims. For example, claims for theft increase by 7 percent during the holidays, and sewer back-up claims increase by 19 percent.

Changes in Routine Increase Risk

New survey data shows that holiday pressures and changes in activities, behaviors and routines can leave homeowners more susceptible to home perils. According to the survey…

  • More than half (52 percent) of consumers state they are trying to do too many things at one time during the holidays.
  • Sixty percent of consumers are trying new techniques for cooking and decorating.
  • More than half (55 percent) of respondents who drink alcohol during the holidays say they drink more during the holidays than they usually do throughout the year.
  • More than half (56 percent) of consumers revealed that their daily schedule and routine changes during the holidays.
  • Seven in 10 (71 percent) consumers leave delivered packages outside their home, drawing attention to valuable gifts and holiday spending.
  • More than half (54 percent) of respondents travel overnight during the holidays – leaving their homes more susceptible to risk.
  • About four in 10 (37 percent) consumers with small children admit to becoming distracted or forgetful during the holiday season.

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