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Some Holiday Cautions
The holidays are a period of great joy for most people. But they also can be a time when people lower their guard a little. Here are some tips to help you keep your holidays happy:
- If you are planning to put a little bling under the tree, give us a call. Although some insurers provide coverage for newly acquired jewelry and other big-ticket items, it is best to be sure that you are covered as soon as you walk out of the store. We can work with the insurance company to hold off on the paperwork so we don't spoil the surprise.
- If you are traveling over the holidays, be careful how much you (or more likely, your children) reveal on Facebook or other social networking sites. For example, this is a message that you don’t want to post: "OMG - Only two more days 'till we fly to Jamaica for a WHOLE WEEK!" That’s the same as telling people, “Our house will be empty for a WHOLE WEEK!”
- Similarly, try to make it less obvious if no one is home. Make arrangements for someone to shovel your driveway and walk. Cancel your newspapers or have a neighbor pick them up so they don’t pile up outside your house. Put your lights on a timer. And don’t turn your heat down so much that you risk finding frozen pipes when you get home.
- Remember that holiday spirit rarely extends to the parking lot when you are shopping, so exercise extra caution, whether you are walking or driving. Drivers can be distracted thinking about their "to do" list, or they might not have cleared snow and ice from their windows adequately. Drivers also sometimes create their own parking spaces, particularly if the lots have not been cleared enough to see the parking lines. And pedestrians trying to get in from the cold as quickly as possible might take more chances or slip on the ice or snow.
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Check the wiring on lights before you plug them in, and don’t leave the tree lit when you leave the house. Exercise caution with candles, and never leave candles burning unattended. Make sure your fireplace is out before you go to bed, and take care to avoid flare-ups or burns in the kitchen.
- Finally, remember your winter driving skills. If the weather outside is frightful, slow down. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Carry a cell phone always, and pack an emergency kit for long trips to Grandma’s. After a snowfall, find a stretch of road where you can safely practice a panic stop with your car. It gives you a chance to hear and feel your anti-lock brakes at work, and it gives you an idea of how much extra stopping distance your car will need in slippery conditions.