Give Thanks Safely

6 Ways to Avoid an Insurance Claim This Thanksgiving

hanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, filled with food, family and friends. But turkey day can also bring its share of risks and accidents. Here are five tips for staying safe this Thanksgiving.

1. Don’t leave your oven or stove unattended

Don’t let guests distract you while you’re cooking. Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires (followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving), according to the National Fire Protection Association.

  • If a fire starts on your stovetop, turn off the burner and quickly cover the pan or pot with a lid to smother the flames.
  • Don’t throw water or flour on stovetop flames. This could cause a fire flare-up or spread the fire. Use baking soda instead.
  • If a fire starts in your oven, turn off the oven and keep the door closed. Opening the oven door could feed the fire (oxygen rush) and cause it to spread.
  • Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher within easy reach (class K is recommended for optimal firefighting safety).
  • If you can’t fight a fire, choose safety and flee your home. For all but the most minor flare-ups, call 911 and have everyone wait outside for firefighters to arrive. Possessions can be replaced, but lives can’t.
2. Follow sound food safety principles.

Food poisoning is not the lasting Thanksgiving memory you want to leave your family and friends with. Wash your hands often as you cook and handle ingredients properly to protect your loved ones from foodborne illnesses.

  • Wash and disinfect utensils and cutting boards, especially when handling raw meat. Keep raw foods separate to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Never reuse meat marinades for sauces unless you boil them thoroughly first.
  • Use a reliable probe thermometer for your turkey. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165 F for safety. 
  • Put leftovers in the fridge promptly to halt the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.
  • Store uncooked meat on the lowest shelf to prevent dripping and cross-contamination.
  • If serving a buffet-style meal, stay on top of USDA-recommended hot and cold food storage temperatures.
  • Ask your guests about food allergies and modify your food preparation accordingly. Nearly 32 million Americans have food allergies and 200,000 of them are hospitalized every year due to food reactions, says Food Allergy Research and Education
3. Keep your pets and guests safe.

The joyful chaos of a bustling holiday home can be scary and stressful for pets. Even normally docile dogs can bite when anxious or frightened, and you can be held legally liable if a guest is injured in your home. Serious dog bites may require medical care and can even lead to lawsuits. You could wind up filing a homeowners claim for these costs.

  • Set aside a space they can retreat to, such as a quiet guest room, and ensure they have enough food and water.
  • Keep the Thanksgiving feast away from your pets. Fatty human foods are hard for animals to digest, and poultry bones can cause choking. Certain desserts contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets. For example, dogs should never have chocolate.
  • If you believe your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local emergency pet clinic immediately. You can also call Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435. (You may have to pay a consultation fee.)
4. Don’t overserve alcohol.

Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating with family and friends, and the festivities often include cocktails. Social host liability laws (which vary by state) allow the victim of a drunk driver to sue the host who served the alcohol. As a host, you may be held liable for alcohol-related mishaps that occur during or after your Thanksgiving gathering.

  • Offer nonalcoholic beverage alternatives and stop serving alcohol toward the end of the gathering.
  • Encourage your guests to use a designated driver or offer them rideshare or taxi gift cards. When in doubt, call a ride or invite them to stay over. Impaired driving can end in accidents, tickets, fines, jail time or worse.
  • Consider purchasing host liquor liability insurance to cover your party. Most renters and homeowners liability policies will cover mishaps, but liability related to alcohol may be excluded from your policy. Let your insurance agent know the details. They’ll help you out.
5. Don’t announce travel plans on social media.

You never know who’s reading your social media posts. Announcing your upcoming travel plans or the fact that you are out of town is like an engraved invitation to a would-be thief.

  • Some burglars use social media posts to target homes. If you want to post about your trip, no problem. Just do it after you’ve safely returned home.
  • If you’re gone for an extended period, set your security alarm, put lights on timers and arrange to have your mail and newspapers held.
  • You can also let trustworthy neighbors know when you’re coming back so they can report any suspicious activity to the police during your absence.
Give thanks safely

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays — and why not? It’s all about giving thanks and enjoying what’s most important. No matter how you choose to make merry, stay safe this Thanksgiving and enjoy your time with friends and family!

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This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.

Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.

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