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You better watch out: Insuring against holiday mishaps


Fri, Dec 8th 2023 04:50 pm

AAA Western and Central New York offers insurance tips for seasonal accidents

By AAA of Western and Central New York

The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but many serious household accidents occur in December. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on average, there are about 160 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with more than 40% of the incidents involving falls. Last year, there were nearly 15,000 emergency room visits over the holiday season.

Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warns that nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Experts remind those with a real holiday tree to water it every day because dry trees, burning candles or broken holiday lights can lead to dangerous fires.

“While the holidays are a time for cheer and goodwill, an accident can quickly spoil the spirit,” said Sandra Shambaugh, vice president of insurance at AAA Western and Central New York. “Making sure you have proper insurance coverage can offer peace of mind and a measure of reassurance at the holidays.”

AAA shares some of the typical – and not so typical – situations that an insurance policy might cover:

√ Up on the rooftop: Traversing wet roofs and icy stepladders can be dangerous. Should a guest slip and fall while helping hang the holiday lights, your insurance policy may cover associated medical bills.

√ Candy cane pain: Should a visitor chip a tooth on a candy cane or peanut brittle, dental repairs may be covered.

√ Santa’s four-wheeled sleigh: While you’re battling it out inside the mall, your car is at the mercy of careless drivers, runaway shopping carts and the elements. Broken taillights, door dings and hail damage may be covered by your auto policy.

√ Down through the chimney: The chimney may be famous for gift delivery, but unlocked doors and windows are often to blame for unwanted gift removal. While theft is a covered loss, it’s a good idea to maintain an up-to-date inventory of existing and new purchases to ensure all your possessions are safely documented.

√ Ice follies: Winter wonderlands are great for songs, but terrible for sidewalks. If guests or other invitees slip and fall on your property, protection for medical payments and legal fees may be covered.

√ Eat, drink and be responsibly merry: Most states have social host liability laws, which may hold you responsible for accidents or injuries caused by your inebriated guests. Be sure to monitor your guests’ alcohol intake and designate drivers.

√ Runaway reindeer: Crowded roadways and inclement weather can make it difficult to see and avoid animals that dart across the road. Animal collisions can cause significant vehicle damage, but the associated repair costs are usually covered with comprehensive coverage.

The holidays offer a reminder to cherish and protect what is most important. To find out more about home or auto insurance, go to www.AAA.com/Insurance.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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