Christmas decorations like candles, lights and Christmas tress are interesting to make and a joy to behold the final outcome. These decorations set the mood for the festivities and remind us that it is a season to celebrate and enjoy ourselves. But if precautions are not taken then these decorations can cause fires, injuries and death. Given below are a few safety precautions to follow during the holiday season.
- If you are buying an artificial tree, ensure that it has a “Fire Resistant” label. This does not mean that the tree will not catch fire; it only means that it is more resistant to burning.
- When you are buying a live tree, ensure that it is fresh. If the tree is fresh you will not be able to pull the needles from the branches. When it is tapped on the ground needles will not fall off. If the truck is fresh it will be sticky with resin.
- Inside your home position the tree away from the fireplace and away from radiators. Heated rooms will dry a live tree quickly. Make sure that the tree stand if filled with water. Place tree away from doorways and areas that are used often in the house.
- Use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized laboratory. Use lights that have plugs and fuses. Use lights labeled for outdoor use for outdoors and those meant for indoor use indoors.
- Check lights both old and new for cracked or broken sockets, bare wires or loose connections before using them.
- Replace damaged bulbs immediately. Use same wattage bulbs.
- Use extension cords that are rated for intended use.
- Use insulated tape to fasten lights outdoors to trees, house wall etc.
- Turn off outdoor light when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Use fire resistant material to decorate the tree. Use nonleaded material for decoration, as leaded material is dangerous if children ingest it.
- Burning candles should be kept in view at all times. Place them out of reach of children.
- Do not place lighted candles near trees or other greens. Use non-flammable holders.
- If you have small children at home, then try not to use decorations that look like candy. As this might tempt them to eat it. Do not use decoration with small removable parts and the children could eat them up.
- While using artificial snow spray, read instructions on the can carefully to prevent lung irritation.
- “Fire salts” produce colored flames when thrown into wood fires. They contain metals and are poisonous if ingested. Therefore keep them away from children.
- Do not throw wrapping paper into the fireplace, as they will burst into flames suddenly causing a fire flash.
- Flying sparks may cause flammable material around the fireplace to catch fire. Prevent this by placing a screen around the fireplace.
We see the work vans and trucks that advertise “licensed, Insured, Bonded”. What does that really mean? Licensed, means the contractor has properly qualified for, and purchased the operating licenses from the state in which they operate. Bonded, can mean different things because there are many different kinds of bonds. In most cases, if the contractor has to “pull a permit” for the particular job, the contractor may also have to purchase insurance and a bond. That type of bond is a license/permit bond. It is usually required by a city or county for specific types of work, such as plumbing, electrical, heating and air etc. The bond simply stated will “ensure” that if upon inspection of the contractors work it does NOT meet code, the bond will pay another contractor to bring it up to code (up to the limit of the bond).
Insuredmeans that the contractor has purchased what is commonly referred to as a commercial general liability policy. The basics of this policy is to protect the contractor for mistakes they make that cause bodily injury or property damage to someone or something else.
What It Covers:
Injuries to others (not workers for the contractor or the contractor himself) caused by the contractors or workers of the contractor’s negligence. Or damage to property of others (not owned by the contractor or a worker for the contractor) caused by the negligence of the contractor or the workers. Some examples include:
A paint can falls from the painters ladder onto a passerby, injuring that person.
A spark from the acetylene torch the contractor is using catches the kitchen on fire.
A homeowner is walking across the new deck installed by the contractor and a loose board drops and the homeowner falls breaking his leg.
What It Doesn’t Cover:
The insurance does not cover the contractors “work”. Nor will it cover injuries to the contractor him/herself, or any of the workers weather or not they are paid by”1099″ or “W2”. It does not cover the customer not paying for, or not liking the work. Some examples are:
The homeowner doesn’t “like” the new deck installed because it is the wrong color.
The contractor falls off the ladder breaking his own leg.
The contractor breaks his brand new saw trying to cut a board on the job.
The homeowner won’t pay the contractor for the completed job.
The contractor uses the wrong glue to seal down the new linolium floor and it ruins the new linolium.
The contractor doesn’t put the fence posts in concrete and the fence falls over.
The preceding examples provided are “what if” scenarios and should not be taken for guaranteed claim payment. All claims have their own set of unique circumstances, and each claim is reviewed based on the facts, and coverages determined at the time of loss. In most cases, injuries to the contractor and their workers would be addresses by “workers compensation”.
See above photos of my office and our roof damage, notice the very top of the roof and the missing shingles
Some Homeowner coverage’s relating to the wind damage from Ike 09/14/08
Ohio has been declared a disaster from the storm that produced 80 MHP winds on 9/14/08. The last time Ohio was declared a disaster was 1979. I can’t help but to think that I thought we (in Ohio) would be safe from a hurricane?!
My home is still without power, and my agency’s office building sustained roof damage. I want to address some of the coverage questions with our customers relating to fallen trees, damaged roofs, and spoiled food.
If your Homeowner policy is with ERIE Insurance:
The policy will provide debris removal coverage for fallen trees. This coverage is up to $1,000 per occurrence with a limit of $500 per tree. The policy deductible applies.
If a fallen tree damages covered property the cost of removing that part of the tree that hit that property will be covered along with the repair or replacement of that property. The policy deductible applies.
The homeowner policy provides coverage for loss of the contents of the refrigerator or freezer units on the residence premises from power failure. The only exception is for contents used for business purposes. The policy deductible applies.
If you have experienced shingles blown off the roof, the policy will either repair or replace, based on examination and extent of the damage. If only one side of the roof is damaged then that part of the roof may be all that will be paid for. The claims department will make the final determination and the policy deductible applies.
If your home is insured with Auto-Owners Insurance:
The policy will provide debris removal for trees fallen in the yard up to $500. The policy deductible applies.
The food spoiled in the refrigerator or freezer on the residence premises in the standard un-endorsed policy is $250 per loss. If your home policy has the “enhancement “Plus” endorsement the coverage is increased to $750. The policy deductible applies.
If you have shingles blown off the roof, the treatment is the same as Erie Insurance, if the roof can be repaired then it will be, if not, then the policy will pay for replacement of the damaged part of the roof. Often times in a storm like this only one side of the roof is damaged, or just the front, or back. In that instance, the insurance carrier will most likely pay for that part of the roof replacement.
ONE MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: If “your” tree falls in your neighbors yard, or hits your neighbors house IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, (unless you were made aware that that tree was dead and poses a threat to their property). The same thing goes for a tree from your neighbors yard, if it hits your car or house YOUR insurance will be responsible.
Please call us if you have “what if” questions, or need recommendations for contractors, or just want to talk about these or other insurance related issues.
Brian E. Lampton, CIC, LUTCF
I Started In the insurance business back in 1990 as a Nationwideagent. In 1997 I left Nationwide and started an independent agency from scratch. I decided that the job of an independent agent was to find the best insurance for the clients. A captive agent’s job is to find clients for their company. I moved the business to Beavercreek Ohio in 1995. I joined the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce and the Beavercreek Rotary Club. I am a member of the PIA and of NAIFA – Dayton. As a member and graduate of the Certified Insurance Counselors I am required to take 20 hours of continuing education each year.
The agency specializes in Personal service in helping individuals and families and small business owners with their personal auto, home, and life insurance. Not to mention the toys we can cover such as motorcycles, boats, personal watercraft, atv’s classic cars or vintage boats. We also specialize in business insurance for the small business owner. We put together custom insurance programs for artisan contractors, restaurants, auto repair shops, beauty salons, metal works, residential and commercial property owners and many many others. We can help with the Commercial liability, property, inland marine, and commercial auto.
Our staff is courteous, friendly and knowledgeable. We care about doing the best possible job for our clients. We value our client relationships and their privacy. Call Brian or Debi today at 937-427-8444 and ask for a comparison, you’ll be glad you did.