Thanksgiving is coming up and that means tables crowned with turkeys. It also means fires caused by folks who recklessly deep-fry them, which can lead to costly homeowner insurance claims.
State Farm is spotlighting the dangers of cooking fires through its yearly tally of grease and cooking-related claims filed on Thanksgiving. The good news is that there were only 29 claims nationwide in 2012, the lowest total in a decade. That's also a big drop from 2010, when there were 66 claims, according to the insurer.
November is the No. 1 month for grease and cooking-related fires, and December is the second highest month, according to State Farm.
To further remind deep-fry cooks to be careful, the company has enlisted the stars of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" in a video, "Hang on a Minute with Jase and Si Robertson." While standing uneasily inside a burning homestead, the country squires offer advice, such as "use your fryers outdoors … away from wooden structures."
Here are the top states for grease and cooking-related claims on Thanksgiving Day for the past eight years (2005-2012), according to State Farm:
The company noted that Georgia had the biggest hike in claims on Thanksgiving from 2011 to 2012, jumping from one to four claims. The largest drop came in California, where claims fell from 6 in 2011 to zero in 2012.
State Farm spokesperson Heather Paul says insurance companies handle deep-fryer and kitchen fires in the same way as other blazes that damage your home or property -- you're covered for the entire loss minus the deductible.
It's wise, she pointed out, to quickly contact an agent, the same day the fire breaks out, if possible. Paul also recommended taking photos of the damage and gathering any fire or police reports. She added that most insurance companies have 24-hour hotlines.
There's more: General cooking precautions
Don't forget the extinguisher.
Allstate says an average of 67,500 homeowners claims are filed each year during the holidays. A study released this week by the insurer made several points, including:
Beyond fire-related problems, Allstate points out that theft-related claims rise by 7 percent during the holidays. And sewer back-up claims increase by 19 percent.
What can make this time of year so precarious? The company surveyed almost 10,000 people across the country and came up with these reasons:
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