4th of July is a time for celebration with family and friends. This year, we will hit our backyards to grill a fantastic meal, jump into the pool, and cap the night off with some fireworks. Unfortunately for some, 4th of July is also a cause of insurance risks and claims. We want to be sure you have the information you need to keep you, your family, and your home safe this week!
Did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home insurance claims around the 4th of July? Approximately 8,800 homes will be involved in a cooking-related fire each year, with the peak month being July. There are several things you can do to ensure you have a fun, and safe, cookout.
- Check and clean your grill. Before you start cooking, check your grill for any potential leaks or rust, and act accordingly to fix the problem. You’ll also want to clean out the interior of your grill, removing build-up from the cooking surface is important, but be sure to remove the tray and clean it as well. The build-up within your grill can cause secondary fires to ignite while you are cooking, so taking the time to clean your grill greatly reduces your risk of a cooking fire during your celebration.
- Set your grill up in a good location. It can be tempting to beat the bad weather and cook indoors, but your charcoal and propane grill should only be used outside. To ensure your safety, set up your grill at least five feet from anything that could catch fire, including railings, the side of your home, or overhanging branches.
- Monitor your grill. While you are cooking, take care to keep an eye on your grill. Ensure that no one who has had an alcoholic drink is utilizing the grill, and be sure to keep children and pets at a safe distance. While you are cooking, you should never leave the grill unattended, and don’t forget to turn off your propane and watch the grill until it cools down.
- Inform yourself. In the event that your grill flares-up, be prepared to take action. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and never try to put out a flare-up with water! Move your items to the opposite side of the grill until the flare-up dies down.
Fireworks are a long-standing tradition for many 4th of July celebrations. If you’re going to be setting off your own fireworks this year, these are a few things you should know beforehand.
- Know your coverage. Fireworks damage isn’t always covered by your policy, especially if fireworks are illegal in your state, or if you cause harm to yourself. Review your state laws, and call your insurance agent to get information on what types of fires (and causes) are covered by your policy.
- Purchase an umbrella policy. If you want to ensure you’re covered, we suggest purchasing an umbrella policy. This policy is meant to protect you after you have reached the limits of your standard home insurance policy.
- Set off your fireworks responsibly. You should research the laws in your state regarding fireworks, and always work to be as safe as possible when setting them off. Even the smallest spark can cause a fire or injury. Here are our best tips to ensure you have responsible fun this week!
- Keep fireworks away from children.
- Never point fireworks at others, even as a joke.
- Always use your fireworks outdoors on a flat, hard surface in an open area free from debris or low hanging branches (like your driveway). Children should be kept at least 30 feet away from the location you will be placing the fireworks.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand in case a firework is a “dud” or doesn’t ignite completely. It will also allow you to put out any fires caused by fireworks misfiring into trees or debris.
- Have a “designated shooter,” and don’t allow adults who have had alcohol to light any fireworks.
If you have any questions about safety tips, or want to learn more about a home insurance policy before you get your celebration started, contact an agent near you!