NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays are a time for family gatherings, entertaining friends, gift-giving and travel. They also are a time when homeowners and their guests have increased exposure to accidents, property damage and theft.
Chartis has identified prevalent holiday-related risks along with easy-to-follow guidelines from its Private Client Group division to maximize safety when entertaining at home, when leaving an unoccupied house and while traveling. Excerpts are included below, and more information can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/ChartisHolidayTips.
Although Private Client Group specializes in property casualty insurance solutions for individuals and families with substantial wealth, all homeowners can benefit from employing sound risk management practices.
- Hosting events at home increases the potential for accidents that can lead to personal liability lawsuits.
- Possessions inside the home are subject to breakage or theft as a result of increased traffic.
- Fires can stem from overloaded electrical outlets, neglected candles, unsecured decorations and cooking mishaps.
What homeowners can do:
- Consider the weather conditions and how they will impact traffic inside and outside the home. Take precautions to address wet, slippery walkways or foyers. Notify guests to take extra care around areas that are particularly crowded or that you know to be potentially unsafe.
- Keep jewelry and other smaller valuables out of sight and in locked safes whenever possible. If you have a wine cellar, lock the entrance.
- Do not leave candles burning in unoccupied rooms. Unplug interior decorations before going to sleep, and unplug appliances when not in use. Avoid using old plugs that don't fit snugly into the outlet. In addition, replace devices or decor with frayed wires.
LEAVING THE HOUSE UNOCCUPIED
- Weather events can increase the chances of property damage across the U.S. Freezing temperatures can lead to burst pipes, while heavy rains can cause power outages and flooding.
- A vacant home is a target for burglars.
What homeowners can do:
- Occupancy is the best prevention. If you aren't in a position to hire a caretaker, have a friend or neighbor check in periodically -- with their car in the driveway.
- Look to technology. Low-temperature sensors and water shut-off devices can help identify problems before they get out of control. Set lights to turn on/off throughout the day -- not just at night.
- Advise family members to use social media wisely. Don't announce that the home will be vacant to a broad (and often unknown) audience.
- Liability laws may vary from country to country, as does the climate for litigation.
- Gifts and other items purchased abroad often are lost or damaged before making it home.
- If family members get sick or injured, non-refundable plans may be canceled or cut short. If traveling to a remote destination, top-quality medical care may not be within reach.
What homeowners can do:
- Consult an insurance professional prior to your trip to better understand local laws, particularly if renting a car or recreational vehicle. When possible, choose an insurance policy that offers worldwide coverage.
- Leave high-value jewelry at home. If you must travel with jewelry, keep it with you at all times; do not place in checked luggage.
- Obtain travel insurance, which can provide coverage for medical evacuation as well as trip cancellation.
"At Chartis, we place a great deal of emphasis on mitigation and risk management," said Ron Laconi, President of Private Client Group. "But it's also critical to have adequate insurance to protect one's home and its contents, as well as safeguard the liability exposures faced by everyone in the household. Most people outgrow their insurance program over time, so we recommend working with an independent insurance agent to find solutions tailored to the homeowner's precise needs."
Chartis is a world leading property-casualty and general insurance organization serving more than 70 million clients around the world. With one of the industry's most extensive ranges of products and services, deep claims expertise and excellent financial strength, Chartis enables its commercial and personal insurance clients alike to manage virtually any risk with confidence.
Chartis is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty and general insurance operations of Chartis Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at http://www.chartisinsurance.com. All products are written by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain coverage may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.