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3 Tips to Prevent Home Insurance Claims in the Kitchen

By Jarrod Heil


Kitchen accidents and home insurance claims may be one of the worst dynamic duos known to humankind. Fires, burns and falls cause damage, destruction and complete chaos that oftentimes result in home insurance claims.

Let’s be honest, nobody wants to treat themselves to a heaping portion of homemade fried chicken with a side of mashed potatoes and a home insurance claim.

The latter part simply ruins the meal — and could leave you paying a lot of money out of pocket if you’re not covered with adequate home insurance.

So let’s take a look at three of the most common kitchen claims and how to prevent them. After all, the top 3 ways to stay safe in the kitchen begin with the chef.

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Top 3 Ways to Stay Safe in the Kitchen

1. How to Prevent Kitchen Fires

Year after year, kitchen fires are among the most common and costly claims filed to home insurance companies. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that almost half the home fires in the U.S. begin in the kitchen.

So careful kitchen practices are key to ensure you stay safe while cooking. Fire safety in the kitchen starts with the following four easy methods.

Never leave the stove unattended

If you’re cooking something on the stove, it’s important that you always keep a close eye on it. Unlike conventional oven cooking, which can be set and forget, stovetop cooking is much more unpredictable.

We know that life’s busy and you’re probably being pulled in 100 different directions while trying to make a nice meal for the family or just yourself (shout out to all the olive oil lovers out there).

But leaving the stovetop unattended is one of the biggest no-nos in kitchen safety rules.

Watch what you put in the microwave

We’ve probably all seen those crazy videos or old-time movies of someone microwaving a metal pan or eating utensil.

So we all know the microwave basically blows up right before their eyes. Well, when we’re in a hurry, we may forget that tin foil is actually a metal and that it causes the same effect.

The most important lesson to microwave safety is slowing down to make sure you’ve taken everything out of your leftovers (or future leftovers) that even has the slightest chance of destroying your microwave (and your kitchen).

Unplug your electric appliances

Finished with your coffee maker until tomorrow morning? It’s time to unplug it. The kitchen already powers the fridge, microwave and so many other things.

Leaving your coffee machine, blender for morning smoothies, crockpot and all your other cooking materials plugged in can overload the circuit and create a devastating kitchen fire.

The worst part about kitchen fires that begin with electrical appliances? They may start when you’re not even at home or while you’re sleeping, which can cause your entire kitchen — or even your entire house — to get destroyed.

You want to cook smart and store smart, so just unplug them to prevent kitchen fires.

Careful with the grease

Grease fires are one of the toughest kinds of fires to put out once they’ve started. Once they start, you’ve got about 30 seconds to control them before they can really begin to tear up your stove and through your kitchen.

Make sure you don’t use too much grease in your cooking, that you clean up all grease before you begin cooking and that you don’t deep fry anything inside your house.

Want to deep fry some chicken wings? Take them outside to increase your safety and prevent kitchen fires.

Grease fires thrive on oxygen and their mortal enemies are baking soda, fire extinguishers, salt and, for small grease fires, a small pan that covers it and takes away its oxygen.

2. How to Prevent Burns in the Kitchen

Burns that have been sustained to other people in the kitchen can fall under the medical payments to others portion of your home insurance policy. Or, you can work to prevent them altogether by taking the tips you read below and enacting them in your cooking.

Use protective over mitts

The easiest way to prevent burns in the kitchen is to always use protective oven mitts that aren’t too outdated. Oven mitts are the best option because they’re thick and stay on your hand like a glove.

Other materials, such as rags or padded handlers, can easily slip off the pot and cause you to sustain severe burns.

Watch out for steam

Steam is one of the most underrated dangers of the kitchen. With more than 100,000 emergency-room visits in the U.S. each year due to scalding steam burns, people may not know to be careful around this quiet, unwavering villain.

A burn from steam can become a pretty serious injury, as steam reaches temperatures of 212 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. That’s pretty hot and can lead to extensive, painful burns that could result in a hospital visit and maybe even a home insurance claim.

Be careful, and use a protective device, when you’re lifting the lid off pots and pans, handling boiling water, taking plastic wrap off an item that was in the oven or microwave, and many other things that involve the use of steam.

Careful with the grease (again)

I know this is the second time I’ve touched on the greasy topic — puns intended — but grease can become one of the most dangerous things in your kitchen if you’re not careful.

But in all seriousness, grease burns are no joke. If you get them in the wrong place (like a splash onto your face or in your eye), you could be left with serious injuries that could last for life.

3. How to Prevent Falls in the Kitchen

While falls in the kitchen are undoubtedly less common than fires and burns, they’re still a very real and dangerous liability that could result in an expensive lawsuit or home insurance claim.

Clean spills immediately

The easiest way to prevent falls in the kitchen is to immediately clean up any spills that occur.

Seriously, if you spill something on the floor while you’re cooking, stop what you’re doing and clean it up properly. Don’t just throw a towel over it or say you’ll clean it when you’re done. That’s how slip-and-fall injuries occur.

There’s a chance you’ll forget the spill is still on the ground and slip in it with everything you’ve worked so hard to cook still in your hand.

Turn handles toward the wall

Turning the handles to pots and pans toward the wall serves a few purposes. It can prevent falls caused by spills.

It can prevent fires caused by spills. It can prevent you from having to eat microwavable popcorn for dinner because you spilled all the food you worked so hard to prepare.

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