Holiday safety reminders

The Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) is offering safety tips for homeowners and renters who are among the estimated 115 million people nationwide traveling over the Christmas holiday.

“More than 115 million people across the country are expected to travel to visit friends and family this Christmas, and we’re encouraging homeowners and renters to take a few precautions before leaving to ensure they don’t come home to a disaster,” said Tricia Kinley, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan. “Making sure real Christmas trees are watered, tree lights aren’t left on and gifts aren’t left visible under the tree will go a long way in preventing fires and deterring thieves.”

For families and individuals who have real Christmas trees, be sure to place them away from heat sources, like fireplaces and radiators, and to avoid overloading extension cords with more than three strands of lights.

It’s also important to check the tree daily to make sure it has enough water. And if you are going out of town, be sure to turn off the tree lights before leaving.

IAM offers the following tips to make your home less welcoming to criminals while you’re traveling over the holiday:

  • Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from the outside.
  • Put lamps or indoor lights on an automatic timer.
  • Keep exterior lights on.
  • Lock your garage door, including the door leading into your home from the garage.
  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home, or even park their car in your driveway to give the impression someone is home.
  • Have someone collect your newspaper or mail or have them stopped while you are away.

Your home or apartment is not the only target for thieves – so is your car.

If you’re traveling with gifts be sure to put them in your trunk or try and hide them as best as you can. And always lock your car, no matter how quick of a stop you plan to make.

“With proper planning, and by taking a few additional precautions, homeowners and renters can ensure their home and belongings are safe and sound while they’re away,” Kinley said. “And if anything should happen, know that our member companies and their agents are there when disaster strikes to help their neighbors when they need them most.”

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