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Enjoy a Claims-Free Thanksgiving

With over 48 million Americans traveling this Thanksgiving to see family and friends, remember to take a few steps to prepare your home to avoid returning to a big mess and insurance claim.

How many times have you started the dishwasher just before you hit the road with the intention of returning to clean dishes? I know, we all have. But what if you return to a flooded kitchen? Water claims, robberies and home fires are a few of the hazards than can dampen your holiday cheer.

Fortunately, Lakeside Insurance Brokers has eight simple tips to help you have a happy and claims-free Thanksgiving:

1. Don't leave appliances on as you depart. Don't leave the dryer, dish washer or washing machine on as you leave the house. A hose can break or fire can start when no on his home to turn off the appliances and avoid damage.

2. Turn off the water to your hoses. Turn the water to your washing machine off so if a hose breaks, you avoid a flood.

3. Set alarms. Remember to set your home alarm system as you leave. Central monitoring alarms can detect a fire or break in.

4. Close and lock doors and windows. This sounds like a "no-brainer", but is usually something we forget when busy trying to get the kids in the car. Be sure to close and lock all doors before you go. Invest in a deadbolt lock on exterior doors if you don't have already.

5. Timers for lights. For as little as $10 per outlet, you can make your home look lived in while you're not there. Remember to set timers for random times vs. turning on all at once at the same time.

6. Don't invite intruders. Don't post your vacation on social media sites - burglars troll social media to see who is and isn't home. Also, check the privacy settings on your social media accounts. If you don't want strangers to see what you post, change your settings.

7. Wrap your pipes. We live in Minnesota and we all know how cold it gets. Wrap your outside pipes with foam or towels and duct tape. Don't turn your heater off completely when you're away, just down enough to keep your pipes from freezing.

8. Keep your important papers secure. Place your most important documents in a safe deposit box or fire proof safe in your home.