No one wants to be dangling off a roof like Clark Griswold in the classic movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but chances are we’ll see one or more Clarks coming ever-so-close to doing so this holiday season. Why? Because it’s a festive time of year and people tend to let their guard down by wanting to get things done quickly and paying less attention to tasks than they should.
Your homeowner’s insurance offers more than replacing or repairing your home in the case of an emergency – it also provides financial protection in the form of personal liability coverage should Cousin Eddie slip on an icy walkway in winter. It’s important to be aware of potential hazards especially during the holiday season so let’s take a look at ways you can prevent the unexpected from occurring.
Hanging & removing outdoor lights.
A fall-related injury study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed 62% of fall-related injuries were between the ages of 20 and 49, while 43% of injuries were attributed to falls from ladders. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide these ladder safety tips:
- to properly reach a roof, extend the ladder a minimum of 3 feet beyond the roof’s edge
- make sure the ladder is placed on level ground
- the bottom of the ladder should be placed one foot from the wall for every 4 feet it extends up
- never stand on the top two ladder rungs
- even though it’s tempting, never over-reach when you’re on a ladder
- ensure there are no hazards around the base of the ladder
Hire a holiday light service.
That’s right, instead of trying to Griswold it yourself, consider hiring a team of professionals who will come to your home (or business) and install your Christmas lights and displays. The advantages here? You can change the holiday design from year to year if you choose, and you won’t have to risk anything by climbing a ladder or going out into the cold. You can simply stay inside and enjoy more time with your family. You can even have permanent lighting installed if you don’t want to change it up.
While your homeowner’s insurance policy offers personal liability coverage, it’s important to note that you must keep your home free from hazards. If you need to make a claim, or heaven forbid someone who visits your home decides to sue you for damages, you’ll need to provide proof to the insurance company that the injury didn’t result from misuse or neglect, as chances are they’ll deny your claim outright. If you’ve done any repairs, upgrades, or used the services of a contractor, easily keep track of your home improvement receipts by uploading them into DomiDocs.
Keep your driveway and sidewalks clear.
Ice, slush, and snow contribute to slips and falls each winter where injuries can include abrasions, broken bones, bruises, and head trauma. Be sure to use an anti-slip material such as sand or salt to help keep your pathways, stairs, and front entrance free from snow and ice, especially when you’re expecting the arrival of delivery drivers, and/or family or friends. If you’ll be having elderly visitors, take special care when they’re exiting their vehicle and encourage them to walk slowly and with the aid of others. It’s also important to ensure these areas are well-lit. Always follow your local weather forecast so you never get caught off guard by a sudden winter storm and consider hiring a snow removal service to keep the winter conditions contained. If you’re not sure who to call, consult the DomiDocs list of trusted nationwide contractors.
In this unsettling situation we’ve all found ourselves in, give yourself a little peace of mind as a homeowner by storing all of your important insurance documents with the secure digital DomiDocs platform so they’re conveniently accessible 24/7. You can also upload photos and videos, and know the real-time value of your home through the TrueValueIndex®.
Author – Connie Motz