The holidays are a great time to take a breather and spend time with friends and family. Hosting parties, preparing festive meals, and shopping for gifts are just a few ways to enjoy the holiday season. However, home disasters like burglaries, grease fires, and porch pirating may be common during the holiday commotion.
In this article, we detail common holiday disasters in your state and discuss ways you can protect your home from unfortunate events during this festive season.
Most Popular Holiday Disaster Searches by State
Tried to Make a Fire Holiday Meal, Started One Instead
Thanksgiving is the most common day for cooking fires as homeowners fry turkeys and bake pies, sometimes biting off a bit more than they can chew. North Carolina is no exception, logging a 100 search volume score for kitchen mishaps from November 2020 to December 2020.
In an honorable attempt to create the best holiday dessert or entree, many homeowners unknowingly start baking fires in their ovens or grease fires on their stovetops. Oftentimes, these disasters are a result of broken appliances—and hosting with a faulty appliance can be extremely difficult.
You can ensure your stove and other kitchen essentials are in good working order before the holiday season with a comprehensive home warranty plan. This plan can protect your home’s systems and appliances if they break due to normal wear and tear, and your home warranty provider can send a trusted technician out to your home to repair or replace the broken item in a timely manner.
With or without a home warranty, it’s important to practice safe cooking habits during the holiday rush, such as wearing short or tight-fitting sleeves, keeping towels and other linens away from burners, and ensuring your cooking surfaces are clean before every use.
Took the Phrase “Light the Christmas Tree” a Bit Too Seriously
Each year, Christmas trees start around 160 house fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly one in five of these fires are caused by decorative lights, while 8% of Christmas tree fires are caused by candles.
In Michigan, Christmas tree fires are top of mind, as the state has the highest search volume for a variety of tree fire keywords, including “Christmas tree fires” and “electrical fires.” Colorado and Kentucky weren’t too far behind the Golden State, each logging more than 90 searches on the topic.
While indoor Christmas trees are the source of many holiday fires, some holiday fires are a result of faulty outdoor decorations. Luckily, many landscape fires are covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
When using holiday lights to decorate indoors and out, it’s important to remember the following safety tips:
- Check lights for broken or cracked sockets and discard all damaged cords.
- Only use lights that have been safety tested.
- Keep bulbs upright to prevent them from resting on your tree’s needles or branches.
- Unplug the tree and outdoor lights before going to bed.
- Use a heavy-duty extension cord to prevent overload.
Unknowingly Gifted Some Holiday Cheer
Some criminals may target homes for their abundance of valuables during the holiday season, and homeowners can fall victim to porch pirates swiping their holiday deliveries right from their front door. This is especially true in “A” states, such as Alaska and Arizona. These states had the three highest search volumes for burglary-related keywords.
Credit card fraud and online scams also increase during this time of year as users flock to the internet to complete their holiday shopping. For example, beware of Coronavirus scammers who offer virus testing or vaccines in exchange for important information, taking advantage of people’s desire to stay healthy during the holidays.
Millennials in particular should be on the lookout for online scams. According to Acorns.com, millennials are the most likely generation to experience fraud. Here are some actionable ways you can protect yourself from theft and fraud this holiday season:
- Look into credit card fraud protection through your homeowners insurance policy.
- Send online packages to a secure locker, or ensure you’re home when they’re delivered.
- Only use legitimate sites when shopping online.
- Set timers for interior lights, so it appears that someone is home even when you’re away.
- Consider a home security system for professional protection.
Invited Jack Frost Over One Too Many Times
While the spring time in Washington DC is full of cherry blossoms, it’s not so lucky when it comes to dealing with Mother Nature during the holiday months. Washington DC topped our list with a search volume score of 100 for water damage-related keywords, which included phrases such as “burst pipe”, “frozen pipes,” and more.
According to Fixr.com, the average cost of repairing a burst pipe is $500, with expenses reaching as high as $2,000. While many homeowners believe pipes burst because of expanding ice, the damage actually occurs when pressure builds between flowing water and the ice blockage in your pipe.
Here are a few ways you can protect your home from frozen and burst pipes:
- Consider insulating your home’s crawl space and attic.
- Cover your pipes in heat wrap to maintain a constant and appropriate internal temperature.
- Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to surround pipes under sinks and appliances.
- Seal leaks that let cold air into your home.
While holiday home disasters like fires, burglaries, and damaged water lines can put a damper on your holiday plans, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to keep your home and belongings safe. Sending online orders to a secure package center, using safe and certified Christmas lights, shopping on legitimate e-commerce sites, and keeping your water lines insulated during the colder months are all ways you can remain protected during the holiday season.
By following some of these simple safety measures, you can help your home weather the storm of the holidays and venture safe and sound into the new year.
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We used Google Trends to research the most common holiday disasters with the highest search interest by state. We analyzed 2020 data for the holiday months of November-December using 18 different types of commonly searched home disasters during the holiday months. We then calculated the average search interest and the states with the highest total search volume were elected as the ones who experience those holiday disasters the most.