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Allstate Data Shows Hazards Hit Close to Home During Holiday Season

     Allstate Data Shows Hazards Hit Close to Home During Holiday Season

New Poll Shows Changes in Activities and Routines that Can Increase Home
Security Risk

PR Newswire

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Nov. 19, 2013

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Nov. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New insurance claims data^i
from the Allstate Insurance Company shows an average of 67,500 homeowners
insurance claims occur during the holidays, and some threats to home security
and safety rise significantly during the holiday season. A new survey also
highlights how holiday pressures and changes in activities, behaviors and
routines can leave homeowners vulnerable to home perils.

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"The holidays are very busy for families and many have significant changes in
the dynamics of their daily lives during this time," said Kathy Mabe,
president of the Western Territory for Allstate. "It's important to understand
how the holiday season can increase the risks to your home's safety and
security and to take the steps needed to keep your home hazard-free."       

The claims information indicates that holiday-related activities can cause one
of the biggest holiday home hazards – fire – and the losses can be quite

  o Overall, home fire claims jump 15 percent during the holiday season.
  o Candles are the most likely holiday-related  cause of a home fire. In
    fact, Christmas week is among the top three weeks of the year for
    candle-related claims. The median cost for candle-related claims is almost
  o On average, there are three times more turkey fryer claims during the
    holiday season than any other time of the year. The median cost for turkey
    fryer-related claims is almost $29,000.
  o Around New Year's Eve, (last week of December through first week in
    January) there are nearly twice as many claims caused by fireworks. The
    median cost for fireworks-related claims is nearly $14,000.
  o Christmas trees are another holiday-related fire hazard that may result in
    costly damages. The median cost for Christmas tree-related claims is more
    than $100,000.
  o Since 2008, the most costly holiday fire involved an artificial Christmas
    tree in the homeowners' living room. The total loss amount cost nearly
    $2.4 million.

In addition to fire claims, the holidays lead to significant increases in
other types of claims.  For example, claims for theft increase by 7 percent
during the holidays, and sewer back-up claims increase by 19 percent.

Changes in Routine Increase Risk

New survey data shows that holiday pressures and changes in activities,
behaviors and routines can leave homeowners more susceptible to home perils.
According to the survey… 

  o More than half (52 percent) of consumers state they are trying to do too
    many things at one time during the holidays.
  o Sixty percent of consumers are trying new techniques for cooking and
  o More than half (55 percent) of respondents who drink alcohol during the
    holidays say they drink more during the holidays than they usually do
    throughout the year.
  o More than half (56 percent) of consumers revealed that their daily
    schedule and routine changes during the holidays.
  o Seven in 10 (71 percent) consumers leave delivered packages outside their
    home, drawing attention to valuable gifts and holiday spending.
  o More than half (54 percent) of  respondents travel overnight during the
    holidays – leaving their homes more susceptible to risk.
  o About four in 10 (37 percent) consumers with small children admit to
    becoming distracted or forgetful during the holiday season.

Helpful Tips

Advance planning and precaution can help protect your home and help make your
holidays hazard-free. Allstate offers these tips to secure your home during
the holidays:

Holiday Cooking

  o Before the holidays, install new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon
    monoxide detectors. Make sure that family members can locate and operate
    fire extinguishers. Test all fire prevention devices to make sure they
    function properly.
  o Be careful in the kitchen. The incorrect disposal of cooking grease,
    overuse of garbage disposals and improper or excessive disposal of waste
    can result in clogged drains and can cause  sewer problems during this
    time of year.

Holiday Decorating

  o Never leave burning candles unattended, and always place them out of reach
    of children. Make it a part of your routine to check that all candles are
    extinguished before you go to bed each night.
  o Make a smart tree purchase. If buying a natural tree, make sure it's fresh
    so it will be less of a fire hazard. Artificial trees should be labeled as
    fire resistant. Keep your tree away from heat sources, and trim trees with
    flame‐resistant materials. Never use lit candles to decorate trees.
  o Check your holiday lights, throwing away any that are broken and don't
    overload the outlets. Only lights and extension cords specified for
    outdoor use should be used outside.

Holiday Security

  o When shopping, don't leave purchases in the passenger compartment of your
    unattended vehicle. Store them out of sight, in the trunk.
  o When in plain view, piled gifts around a Christmas tree serve as an
    invitation to burglars. Close the shades or drapes if you're going to be
  o Don't advertise shopping trips or gift purchases on social media. Whether
    it's "check-ins" using geo-location services, travel plan updates, or even
    photos uploaded while at a holiday party, people may be unknowingly giving
    today's "digital thieves" greater insight into the contents of your car's
    trunk, times you're away from home and even the holiday gifts hiding in
    your closet.

"According to our polling, most Americans celebrate the holidays in a home,
whether it's their home, a family member's home or a friend's home," Mabe
continued. "While 76 percent of respondents say they're mindful of potential
hazards in the home, preventable claims do increase during this time of year.
By taking some simple precautions, families can celebrate with better peace of
mind this holiday season."             

For more home protection tips and to learn about Allstate's homeowners
offerings, contact an Allstate agent or visit

Survey Methodology
The survey of 9,880 American adults age 18+ was conducted October 25 –
November 5, 2013 via an online survey using a sample panel. 200 interviews
were conducted in each state with the exception of AK: n = 104, WY: n = 140,
ND: n = 174, SD: n = 181, VT: n = 176, and DC: n = 105. Analyses for each
state were weighted to match its demographic profile. In addition, analyses of
the overall findings were weighted by the national population parameters. The
survey was conducted by FTI Consulting, Inc. (FTI) for Allstate.

About Allstate
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held
personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through
its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and
Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products
(auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate
agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial
representatives, as well as via,
and 1-800 Allstate^®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good
Hands With Allstate^®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local
communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and
the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit
organizations and important causes across the United States.

^i Allstate actuaries conducted an in-depth analysis of company claims data to
determine the likelihood homeowners across the country will experience a
homeowners claims around the holiday season (mid-November through mid-January)
compared to the entire year. Internal claims were analyzed over a four-year
period (from January 2009 through December 2012) and excluded catastrophic
events to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences
such as weather events. Seasonal perils such as wind or hail that naturally
occur during the holiday season are not attributed as "holiday-related"
whereas perils such as theft are attributed as "holiday-related." Allstate's
homeowners' policies represent about 9 percent of all U.S. home policies,
making this report a realistic snapshot of what's happening in America's

Related Links:
Allstate Insurance Company  
Allstate Newsroom

Allstate's Holiday Home Hazards found home fires increase 15 percent during
the holidays.


Infographic: The holidays aren't always as sweet as they should be


Video with caption: "Broll: Holiday Home Hazards." Video available at:

Image with caption: "Allstate's Holiday Home Hazards found home fires increase
15 percent during the holidays." Image available at:

Image with caption: "Infographic: The holidays aren't always as sweet as they
should be." Image available at:


SOURCE Allstate

Contact: Kari Mather, (847) 402-5600, On Twitter @AllstateNews
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