Stockings Hung by FireplaceWe are heading into the most wonderful time of the year. This is the time to be with those you love most, and share those special moments.

But as we delve deeper into the holiday season, remember that your home always faces risks. Your home insurance coverage can help you financially after an incident, but it's better to avoid that incident in the first place.

Since many holiday activities might be held in your home, you need to make sure that you reduce risks on your property. Keep your family, friends and possessions safe by keeping potential hazards in check.

Here are five home safety tips for the holidays.

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1. Keep It Off The Internet

You likely can't wait to show off that new purse or even that new car that you woke up to on Christmas morning. But, did you know that posting your gifts on social media actually might increase your theft risk?

Indeed, thieves frequently scan social media so they can know when a homeowner is not home. Even if you trust everyone on your social media platforms, it is still a good idea to err on the side of caution. A social media post isn't always visible to only your followers.

2. Lock It Up

If you're heading out for a bit, you don't want to leave your valuables laying around. Locking up your house is essential whenever you leave. However, you should be doubly sure that you lock up during the holidays.

Studies show that reported thefts increase around the holidays. Your valuables and gifts are at targeted in these burglaries. You should lock your home and set a house alarm (if you have one) before you leave, even for short errands. Also secure any extra your gifts, jewelry and china in a locked room, safe or cabinet.

3. Keep It Clean

You're likely to have a lot of guests in and out of your home over the holidays. By cleaning regularly, you can reduce the risk of illness and injuries from slips and falls. If you live in an area where there is a lot of wet weather, take steps to keep water from getting tracked into your home — perhaps by reinforcing your weatherstripping or asking guests to take off their shoes when they enter. This reduces the risk of water damage or mold.

4. Check Your Wiring

As you hang lights and decorations, take care not to overload your electrical system. This reduces your risk of blowing fuses, sparking outlets and starting fires. You should also secure your wiring so that it does not pose a fall risk to guests.

5. Know Your Fire Risks

The Christmas season poses the highest house fire risk. This is the case because homeowners who decorate for the season introduce a lot of flammable objects to the inside of their homes. Lights can overburden sockets. Christmas trees and other garlands pose a fire risk as well, whether they are live or fake. Fires in the fireplace can also engulf a home if homeowners are not careful.

If your tree and garlands are live, you should water them frequently. If any of them die, remove them from your house quickly. Make sure that your fireplace is clean, so the risk of chimney fires is low. Blow out candles before leaving the house, and don't light candles near flammable items. When hanging lights, don't overburden sockets.

Keeping your home safe during the holidays is an important part of your security plan. You should reduce your risks of having to file a home insurance claim. If you feel that you need extra coverage, call Ahrens Insurance Agency at (352) 368-7090 for a free Ocala FL home insurance quote. Happy Holidays!

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