10 Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

Dec 1, 2017

As you begin to deck your halls, make sure you do so safely. Homeowners and renters insurance covers a wide array of damage and injury claims that can happen while decorating for the holidays, but why make a claim if you don’t have to?

December is busy enough without having to fit in a surprise visit to the ER, and you’ve got better things to spend your money on that an emergency room copay.

Don’t let your holiday decorations get the best of you. Here are some quick tips to avoid insurance claims around the holidays.

Safety First
Use UL approved extension cords meant for outdoor use, and look for lights rated for indoor/outdoor use that are also UL approved. Always follow each item’s manufacturer guidelines for care, maintenance, and use.

Check For Damage
Before plugging anything in, check all cords and plugs of both light strands and extension cords to make sure they are not frayed or otherwise damaged.

Test Them Out
Before you get them hung up, plug them in and test them out. This could save you some headaches down the road. Never plug lights in while they’re still in the box, as this poses a fire hazard.

Use As Directed
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in regard to safety instructions, care and maintenance, and use to be on the safe side.

Overloading Power Points
This is one of the most common ways that fires start. Be careful with how many decorations you plug into a single power point. The normal capacity for a power point is up to 2,300 watts so be mindful of how much load you’re placing on the point. Also be sure to check how many individual strands of lights can be plugged in end-to-end. Some lights have a maximum number of strands that can be plugged together for safety reasons.

Use a Reliable Ladder
Avoid getting on a ladder if possible. If you decide to hang lights someplace high, like along the edge of your roof, be sure to use a sturdy ladder and have someone hold the bottom steady. Each holiday season, ERs fill up with people injured from unsuccessful attempts at hanging Christmas lights.

Secure Lights Safely
Use plastic clips, zip ties, or plastic hooks to hang holiday decorations & lights instead of tacks, staples, or nails. Metal items like these pose an electrical hazard.

Watch Your Step
Make sure that cords are arranged in a way to avoid tripping hazards (to you and visitors), and make sure they’re not pulled taunt. This can put decorations at risk of falling over or coming partially unplugged – which pose hazards of their own.

Replace Burned out Bulbs
When bulbs burn out, be sure to change them with the appropriate replacement that is the correct wattage. Never remove a bulb without replacing it, as it’s dangerous to have light strings plugged in with empty sockets.

Switch Them off For Safety
Turn off holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.


Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare or how many precautions you take, accidents still happen. Be sure to review your homeowners or renters policy with your agent before decorating this holiday season.

Have coverage questions? Reach out to one of our experts through the contact form below.

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