It’s that celebrating time of year again. And it sometimes feels like a non-stop adventure. Thanksgiving is a breath away, which leads us to the Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa celebrations. We wrap up the year with New Year’s Eve festivities and New Year’s Day brunch or dinner.

Every family has its own traditions and cultural observances. While we’ll all celebrate in our own way, one thing is certain – the holidays will most likely involve candles, holiday lights, trees, some libations and extra cooking.

This should be a recipe for festive family and friend occasions, but it is also a recipe for tragedy. Injuries will happen, fires will damage homes as will water damage from fire department hoses.

I know that you’re probably busy planning holiday activities, maybe fretting over what gifts to buy and how to pay for it all, but accidents do happen. And the it-happens-but-not-to-me mindset works fine until it does happen to you. That’s what insurance is for. But for insurance to have real value, you should examine your policies regularly and now would be a good time.

The best thing, of course, is to do all that’s possible to avoid holiday disasters. The following websites offer some helpful information to keep you, your family and home safe.

To keep your Christmas tree safe from fire, the Christmas Tree Association offers some great tips.

If you’re stringing holiday lights, please do it responsibly with well-examined, one-piece electrical cords and working outlets. Do not overload outlets or electrical breakers and/or fuses. If you are not sure how safe your house wiring is, a licensed electrician can update your electrical system and make sure all is in working order. It may sound expensive, but it is cheaper to hire an electrician than it is to replace your house or possessions. And remember you cannot replace a life.

Check out HouseLogic for helpful suggestions on keeping your home safe this holiday season.

And the FEMA website has a wealth of information, including flyers and brochures you can download.

Fire, Accidents and Your Homeowner’s Policy:

Nothing destroys fun and festivities like a fire, accident or loss of life.

Double check your homeowner or renter insurance policy to be sure you have adequate coverage for all your belongings and property.Be sure your coverage contains replacement cost for both the building and the contents.

Double check the limit of liability for injuries to visitors and guests to be sure it is adequate. I’m confident that you recognize that we live in a litigious society. Even the best of friend who might suffer a fall or other injury while in your home will sue as they may need the funds for their health care bills and recovery.

Insurance is a complex industry with products that are not always easy to understand and not automatically stacked in the insured’s favor. A trusted agent/broker is a good beginning. But learn as much as you can about your policy. It is to that end I offer information. I want to shed light on these issues to help you become an informed insurance buyer and have the coverage you need for you and your family.

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season and celebrates in their own special way. May everyone have peace and happiness.

This article should not be considered insurance advice. Consult a licensed and reputable insurance broker who is familiar with your needs before purchasing insurance.