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When it comes to home cooking fires, Thanksgiving can be a real turkey.
New data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows Thanksgiving Day ranks first in the United States for home kitchen fires reported to firefighters in 2018. Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Day, tied in the second row.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2018, firefighters responded to approximately 1,630 home kitchen fires, 250% more than the year-round daily average of 470.
As you might expect, these vacation fires are causing disgruntled faces at the table and lots of home insurance claims. Angi Orbann, vice president of personal insurance product management at Travelers, said the insurer’s average home insurance claims increased about 7% over the Thanksgiving holiday season, most of these claims being related to kitchen fires.
These claims can be costly. The average loss in a home kitchen fire was $ 6,900 from 2014 to 2018, according to the NFPA. In 2018, fire and lightning damage caused 32.7% of homeowners’ insurance losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a professional group. It was the second leading cause of home insurance claims, behind wind and hail (34.4%).
The worst days for kitchen fires
Insurance for cooking fires
Home insurance will cover damage caused by fires. A standard policy will cover fire damage to your home and property. If you’ve suffered significant fire damage and can’t live at home, don’t forget your policy’s “extra living expenses” coverage, also known as loss of use. This will cover your additional costs while the house is being repaired, such as hotel bills.
Home insurance will not pay for damage caused by a fire that was intentionally started by a member of your household, but it will cover arson by someone else.
Cooking the turkey in a deep fryer?
The internet is full of videos of turkeys exploding in deep fryers.
Experts strongly advise against frying a turkey, as it is a risky way to cook a bird. From 2014 to 2018, deep fryers were responsible for the highest death rate per 1,000 home kitchen fires (5.4), the second highest average loss per home kitchen fire ($ 27,200), and the fourth. highest injury rate per 1,000 home kitchen fires (25.9), according to NFPA.
As an alternative, the NFPA suggests buying a fried turkey in places like grocery stores and restaurants.
Check your liability coverage
Home insurance can also come to the rescue if there are Thanksgiving incidents involving guests in your home.
The liability portion of a home insurance policy pays if guests are injured on your property. It also usually pays for any damage or injury your pets cause to others. Most standard home insurance policies offer liability coverage of up to $ 300,000 for property damage or personal injury, but you can increase this coverage.
Your liability coverage may pay for issues like these:
- An accident related to the alcohol you serve
- A visitor is injured in a slip, trip or fall
- A guest gets bitten by your dog
In addition, home insurance policies include small coverage for medical payments, for example $ 1,000. This covers less costly guest injuries, regardless of who may have been at fault. This coverage can be repaid faster than liability insurance because the insurer does not have to determine whether you have been negligent in any way. It could be used, for example, for a guest going to the hospital for food poisoning.
Tips for Avoiding Thanksgiving Dinner Disasters at Home
In addition to storing the deep fryer, there are plenty of ways you can avoid household disasters during Thanksgiving. Here are 11 tips for avoiding turkey problems in the kitchen.
- Keep your cooking area free from flammable materials like food wrappers, towels, and oven mitts. If they are too close to your stove, they could catch fire.
- Avoid wearing long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could come in contact with a heat source.
- Don’t leave your kitchen when something is cooking on the stove.
- Stay home while turkey and other items are baked and check these items regularly.
- Be careful when cooking. If you’re really sleepy or really drunk, it’s a good idea not to cook Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen. “Cooking while tired or under the influence is dangerous,” warns the NFPA.
- Keep children at least 3 feet from stoves and other places where hot food or drinks are prepared or served.
- Set the timers so you don’t forget to check the food.
- Test your smoke detectors to make sure they are working.
- Never throw water on a grease fire that occurs in a pot above your stove. Instead, turn off the burner and cover the fire with a lid or a larger pot to smother it.
- If a fire breaks out in your oven, extinguish the fire and keep the door closed.
- If you are not sure whether you can safely deal with a kitchen fire that has started, leave your home and call 911.
“The pandemic may limit the number of people in homes this year, but there will still be a lot of the usual cooking and distractions that contribute to a sharp increase in cooking fires on and around Thanksgiving. Being vigilant in the kitchen remains essential to ensuring a fire-free vacation, ”said Lorraine Carli, spokesperson for the NFPA, in a press release.