Fire, theft claims rise in Hawaii during holidays

Published On: Nov 19 2013 01:44:00 PM HST

New insurance claims data from the Allstate Insurance Company shows that theft and fire perils pose as threats to home security and safety for Hawaii residents during the holiday season.

During the holidays, theft and fire claims increase by 17.98 percent and 15.99 percent, respectively, for all Hawaii homeowners.  The new claims data also shows that Hawaii homeowners are most likely to experience a theft claim over the holiday season.

Allstate attributes home fire claims to holiday-related activities.  Christmas week is among the top three weeks 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 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 claim involved an artificial Christmas tree in the homeowners’ living room. The total loss amount cost nearly $2.4 million.

A new survey also highlights how holiday pressures and changes in activities, behaviors and routines can leave Hawaii homeowners vulnerable to home perils.

More than half (56 percent) of Hawaii consumers say they are trying to do too many things at one time during the holidays. Fifty-eight percent of Hawaii consumers are trying new techniques for cooking and decorating.

More than half (62 percent) of Hawaii respondents who drink alcohol during the holidays say they drink more during the holidays than they usually do throughout the year.

Fifty-six percent of Hawaii consumers revealed that their daily schedule and routine changes during the holidays.

Six in 10 (66 percent) Hawaii consumers leave delivered packages outside their home, drawing attention to valuable gifts and holiday spending.

Almost half (45 percent) of Hawaii respondents are traveling overnight during the holidays -- leaving their homes more susceptible to risk.

Advance planning and precaution can protect your home and help make the holidays hazard-free.  Allstate offers the following tips to secure your home during the holidays:

Holiday Cooking

• Before the holidays, install new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure that family members can locate and operate fire extinguishers. Test all fire prevention devices to make sure they function properly.
• Be careful in the kitchen. The incorrect disposal of cooking grease, overuse of garbage disposals and improper or excessive disposal of waste can result in clogged drains and can cause sewer problems during this time of year.
Holiday Decorating
• Never leave burning candles unattended, and always place them out of reach of children. Make it a part of your routine to check that all candles are extinguished before you go to bed each night.
• Make a smart tree purchase. If buying a natural tree, make sure it’s fresh so it will be less of a fire hazard. Artificial trees should be labeled as fire resistant. Keep your tree away from heat sources, and trim trees with flame-resistant materials. Never use lit candles to decorate trees.
• Check your holiday lights, throwing away any that are broken and don’t overload the outlets. Only lights and extension cords specified for outdoor use should be used outside.

Holiday Security

• When shopping, don’t leave purchases in the passenger compartment of your unattended vehicle. Store them out of sight, in the trunk.
• When in plain view, piled gifts around a Christmas tree serve as an invitation to burglars. Close the shades or drapes if you’re going to be away.
• Don’t advertise shopping trips or gift purchases on social media. Whether it’s "check-ins" using geo-location services, travel plan updates, or even photos uploaded while at a holiday party, people may be unknowingly giving today's "digital thieves" greater insight into the contents of your car’s trunk, times you’re away from home and even the holiday gifts hiding in your closet.


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