A kitchen can be the heart of your home. More than a place to prepare and share a meal with family and friends, it’s a central gathering spot for important conversations, homework and laughs.
Kitchens also carry insurance risks. Accidents can arise, appliances may break and you never know what the forces of nature can do. But you can protect yourself.
AAA provides homeowners insurance to make sure your home and all the important things that live there are covered. Here are some insurance risks to consider in the kitchen.
Insurance Risk During Kitchen Home Improvement
If you’re working on a kitchen renovation, keep a few factors in mind. Wouldn’t you rather have a smooth and successful remodel than a headache from an insurance issue?
First of all, you should inform your insurance agent that you are doing a kitchen renovation. Your coverage may need to be updated, and the insurance risk may change.
Also, ask if your policy covers renovation projects to your home and check that your contractor has insurance for themselves and their workers. If someone gets injured while working on your home, you could be held responsible. Ask to see your contractor’s insurance certificate and liability coverage.
Store your food properly and at the proper temperature. Clean out your fridge every now and then and check for expired products. Spoiled and rotting food left in the back of your fridge can come back to haunt you, even if it just leaves a sticky residue. If you’re not sure how fresh food is, you are better off throwing it out than taking the risk.
In case of a power outage, a freezer can keep foods fresh for 24 hours, or 48 hours if it is tightly packed. Any cooked foods should be eaten immediately or thrown away.
When you’re cooking, please keep an eye on open flames. Cooking can be relaxing, but it is important to stay safe. Do not leave the kitchen for an extended period of time while you are cooking.
Reconsider hanging dishcloths, towels or oven mitts on the handle of your oven as they could catch fire. It may be a convenient spot to place kitchen amenities, but there’s always the small chance that a rogue flame or spark could catch the cloth. Keep the towels in a kitchen cabinet drawer next to the oven or on a wall hook nearby.
Make sure the stove and burners are off when you are done cooking. This may sound obvious, but when the flame is very low you could easily forget. And clean the stove top when you are done. Old residue from a rogue piece of food could be the building spark for a kitchen fire next time you’re cooking.
Please keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Hopefully, you will never need it, but it’s better if you have it around, just in case.
Take Care of Kitchen Appliances
Plug all kitchen appliances that need power directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord because that may overheat. Replace any frayed or damaged cords, and when moving objects in your kitchen, remember where the power cords are so you do not walk over the cords and damage them.
Keep your receipts from when you buy new appliances – you’ll need them if these items break down or are stolen. Insurance risk is partially based on the known value of the items you own. A fancy new dishwasher or a top-of-the-line fridge can be expensive to replace and you want to have proof of its value for your insurance company. Even a smaller appliance like a toaster is worth keeping the receipt for.
Keep an inventory of all the objects and appliances in your kitchen. Make a list and take photos and videos. This provides proof of the condition of any part of your kitchen before a damaging event.
Insurance Risk From Natural Disasters
Floods and fires can come from the outside world. There’s always a chance of disaster, although you can make it smaller by taking the precautions to protect yourself and your home.
Check with your insurance agent and ask about what coverage you receive in case of a natural disaster. It is better to know what you are entitled to before an event occurs, rather than scrambling afterwards.
Talk to an agent about homeowners insurance options today or visit AAA.com/Insurance to get a quote.
How do you protect yourself in the kitchen? How do you protect your appliances? Leave a comment and let us know!