Hayden Ward

Hazards Never Take a Holiday

Holiday Hazards for Vacation Rentals

’Tis the season to be on the lookout for common holiday hazards at your vacation rental. No one needs to be on Santa’s naughty list when you can easily avoid these potential problems. The holidays can be overwhelming with so much to do and so little time, especially amid the pandemic, and it’s easy to overlook basic rental risks. Set aside a few minutes to prepare your property for hazards and remind your guests to take safety precautions seriously. Keep your holiday memorable for the right reasons and your vacation rental on the nice list all year long.

Home for the Holidays?

Does your vacation rental property remain empty during winter? Make sure you properly prep before closing for the season so your property is ready to rent when you return.

Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating systems, or at a minimum cleaning them frequently during heating seasons, can be of great help in the long run as dirty filters often restrict airflow, increase energy demand and can even cause serious system issues.

Prior to closing, shut off the main water valve, open up your faucets and drain your water lines. Shutting off your water is advised even if it’s only for a few days. You can’t be too careful; water damage is one of the leading issues our policyholders report and some of the most expensive damages to repair.

Whether you want to save a little money on your gas bill or protect your vacant rental from major property damage, our Winterizing Checklist will help keep you warm and safe this winter.

“Sleigh” your Holiday Cleaning

Stay organized and help prevent the spread of disease on your property by having a strong cleaning protocol. Sanitization of many high-touch surfaces is a crucial step for the safety of the next rental guest. Download our cleaning checklist to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses in your vacation rental. 

Before decorating your rental, declutter, deep clean and refresh worn out items or furniture. Scrub your walls, floors, windows and pantry to remove any dirt or grime. Not only will your home be clean, it will also be easier to decorate for the season with a fresh start.

Make the Season Bright

Holiday lights spark joy and are a festive way to capture the spirit of the holidays in your short-term rental. Remember to keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Do not overload your sockets.
  • Do not use indoor lights externally.
  • Do not leave lights plugged in for long periods.
  • Replace any strings of lights that are worn, have broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Remind guests to turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the property or going to bed, or place them on a timer.

Indoor decorations are an amazing way to make your guests feel at home, enjoying the magic that comes with the season. If you’re decorating with lights indoors, it’s wise to place extension cords next to the wall so guests won't trip. Cords should not be placed under rugs just in case they heat up.

Living in a Winter Wonderland

Oh, the weather outside may become frightful and elevate risks with ice and snow buildup, ice-covered tree limbs and walkways, and freezing pipes. Those risks lead to increased property damage and liability claims. Don’t think twice about it this season! Be prepared for heavy snow and ice that can weigh down weak tree branches causing them to fall and possibly injuring someone or causing damage to your vacation rental property. When weather allows, have weak branches and dead trees removed.

Slips and falls are also a part of the winter weather hazard mix. They account for millions of hospital visits each year. If one happens on your property, you could be held liable. Reduce the risk of a winter slip and fall by keeping your walkways, driveway and outdoor steps free from ice and snow. Apply a commercial-grade ice-melt product to melt the ice, provide traction, and prevent refreezing and/or black ice.

If your property is prone to severe winter weather, you may want to consider stocking your short-term vacation rental with helpful winter amenities. Shovels, ice melt or road salt, a broom, firewood and a window scraper are all great tools you can provide for your guests.

But the Fire Is So Delightful

While fireplaces and wood burning stoves are popular features for vacation rental properties, they’re also among the leading causes of home fires. Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

It might seem obvious, but it’s really important to keep ignitable objects away from heating equipment. Blankets, electrical cords, and decorative items are often found around fireplaces and create a major hazard. Prevent an accidental fire by establishing a clearance area of at least three feet around your heating equipment.

Regularly test your smoke and CO detectors as part of your post-stay property inspection. Batteries for these devices should be changed every six months and CO detectors need to be replaced every five years.

Griswold-Proof Your Home

Even if the Griswold family were to rent your home, these ideas should help reduce the amount of potential hazards. Begin your free quote today with the CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team or speak with one of our insurance experts! 

Disclaimer: This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.