Family at the table for thanksgiving dinner.

5 Ways To Avoid an Insurance Claim This Thanksgiving

September 25, 2023

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday filled with food, family and friends (and football). But turkey day can also bring its share of risks and accidents.

Here are five tips for staying safe this Thanksgiving.

1. Don’t leave your oven or stove unattended.

You may have a houseful of guests for Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t let yourself get distracted while you’re cooking. Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for home cooking fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

And while Thanksgiving may be less of a big deal in some Canadian families, other families are on par with their American cousins.

If a fire starts on your stovetop, turn off the burner and quickly cover the pan or pot with a lid to smother the flames. You can also use a kitchen fire extinguisher to put it out. Don’t try to throw water or flour on the flames. This can cause a flare-up.

If a fire starts in your oven, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed.

For all but the most minor kitchen fires, call 911 and have everyone wait outside for firefighters to arrive.

2. Follow sound food safety principles.

Food poisoning is not the lasting Thanksgiving memory you want to leave your family and friends with. Wash your hands often as you cook and handle ingredients properly to protect your loved ones from foodborne illnesses.

Wash utensils and cutting boards that have touched raw meats, and never reuse meat marinades as sauces unless you boil them thoroughly first.

Use a reliable probe thermometer and cook your turkey to 77 C.

Also, put leftovers in the fridge promptly to halt the growth of dangerous bacteria.

3. Keep your pets and guests safe.

The joyful chaos of a bustling holiday home can be scary and stressful for pets. Set aside a space they can retreat to, such as a quiet guest room, and make sure they have enough food and water.

Even normally docile dogs can bite when anxious or frightened, and you can be held legally liable if a guest is injured in your home. Serious dog bites may require medical care and can even lead to lawsuits. You could wind up filing a homeowners claim for these costs.

Also, keep the Thanksgiving feast away from your pets. Fatty human foods are hard for animals to digest, and poultry bones can cause choking. Also, certain desserts contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets. For example, dogs should never have chocolate.

If you believe your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local emergency pet clinic immediately.

4. Don’t announce travel plans on social media.

You never know who is seeing your social media posts. Announcing your upcoming travel plans, or the fact that you are out of town, is like an engraved invitation to a would-be thief.

Some burglars use social media posts to target homes. If you want to post about your trip, no problem: Just do it after you’ve safely returned home.

If you’re gone for an extended period, set your security alarm, put lights on timers and arrange to have your mail and newspapers held. You can also let trustworthy neighbours know when you’re coming back so they can report any suspicious activity during your absence to the police.

5. Don’t drink and drive.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and celebration, and alcohol is often part of the festivities.

As a host, you probably won’t be held liable in Canada for alcohol-related mishaps that occur during or after your Thanksgiving gathering. But be a responsible host. Offer nonalcoholic beverages and stop serving alcohol toward the end of the gathering. Encourage your guests to pick a designated driver.

Impaired driving can end in accidents, tickets, fines, jail time or worse. When in doubt, call your guests a ride or invite them to stay over.

Give thanks safely

From kitchen fires to home break-ins, a variety of problems can occur while you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends. Now is the time to review your auto and home insurance policies with your insurance broker. Make sure you understand your coverage and you’re adequately protected from unexpected holiday mishaps.


This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your attorney, doctor, broker or advisor to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Copyright © 2022 Applied Systems Inc. All rights reserved.