6 holiday tips to keep your home hazard proof this summer

During this time of year, our homes are stuffed with tinsel, wrapping paper and most importantly, lots of food. But while we decorate our homes in anticipation of the festive and warm season, there are many hazards that often go untraced - potentially spoiling the holiday fun. Here a few tips to keep in mind as you get your home summer and holiday ready so you can avoid the real grinch that is, home insurance hazards.

RELATED: Single-item insurance: contents insurance of the future

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1. Review/update your home and contents insurance policy. 

If you are planning on making any adjustments or alterations to your home for the holidays, review your home and contents insurance policy to make sure you’re aware of what you will and won’t be covered for this summer. And if you’ve recently renovated your home or have added features, like a tool shed, throughout the year, it’s important update your policy ASAP, as you could risk being underinsured should anything happen over summer.

2. Make any necessary repairs now. 

If there’s one thing the holidays can guarantee, it’s unexpected visits by family members in massive quantities. And while it’s all fun and games when you’re sipping on Christmas drinks, it only takes a second for the fun to come crashing down, literally. You could be held personally liable if someone injures themselves while on your property, so before any guests roll in over the summer, take the time do a home audit and repair anything that’s faulty or damaged, like a loose verandah rail, to prevent any injuries that could occur.

3. Keep an eye on your Christmas lights. 

Along with the tree topper, Christmas lights give any tree a little bit of magic. However, those tiny bulbs wrapped around your tree can become a potential fire hazard. Avoid buying second hand bulbs from overseas or discount stores and stick to lights that have met the Australian safety standards, which you can identify through a compliance logo found on the product’s packaging.

If you’ve decided to use lights from the previous year, inspect them to make sure there is no wear and tear on the wiring or actual bulbs. And while going overboard on the Christmas lights isn’t likely to cause a fire alone (except for the one in your head once you see your energy bill), you should still avoid overloading extension cords or sockets - it only takes one spark from a socket to catch onto a wrapped gift under the tree.

4. Be aware of gift placement. 

While we’re on the subject of gifts, your children aren’t the only prying eyes you need to watch out for when it comes to stashing presents under the Christmas tree. Having gifts on display for all to see may attract thieves and can result in your home being broken into. If your children enjoy the tradition of seeing their many gifts displayed under the tree, move it to a room or corner away from windows. It’s always a good idea to upgrade your security system if you haven’t already or to make sure all windows are doors are locked, just in case.

5. Practise Sunday Barbie safety. 

There’s nothing more Aussie than having family and friends over for a Sunday BBQ during the summer, but with the heat in the sky and on the grill, there’s always the chance of flames, and I don’t mean the bickering between family members. It’s not uncommon for grills to catch fire because of dripping oil and grease, but the real trouble begins if it starts to spread. Always make sure to have a fire extinguisher handy and that the gas on grills are switched off when not in use. And if you’re planning on cooking with a charcoal grill, ensure that any fires are extinguished when you’re done or are supervised throughout the day.

6. Remember the little ones. 

What do dogs and toddlers have in common? They love to put everything they see in their mouths. Things like tinsel, electrical cords and tiny ornaments are just as delectable to a toddler as a dog. If you’re expecting guests with young children, make sure your decorations are on high ground and out of reach. Another household Christmas item to be aware of are plants, like poinsettias, as they are incredibly toxic to dogs and should be kept on high benches or shelves. But if you’ve got a big dog that loves to jump, fake plants can still give you that festive feeling, without putting your furry friend’s safety at risk.

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