COLUMBUS, Ohio--(Brand New Belongings Burn House outside of Columbus, Ohio, to show the dangers and devastation of space heater home fires.)--As the bone-chilling cold of winter grips the nation, many Americans take to alternative heating sources to keep their homes warmer and save on expensive heating bills — but families using these heating sources should proceed with caution. On Feb. 15, Nationwide Insurance demonstrated a “live bedroom burn” at the Nationwide
“It is important to make sure safety is a key component—alternative heating can be a cost efficient way to provide warmth to your family, but only if used correctly.”
The space heater risk
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home space heater fires are involved in 19,300 home fires annually. Half of all home heating fires occur during the cold winter months of December, January and February. In fact, space heaters accounted for one-third (32 percent) of home heating fires and four out of five (80 percent) of home heating fire deaths. These types of fires are not only common, but can be extremely costly. Over the past five years (2008 – 2012), Nationwide paid more than $48 million in claims related to space heaters, with the average claim topping more than $40,000.
“At Nationwide we’re committed to keeping our members safe and protecting what matters most to them,” said Pete Lore, Nationwide’s associate vice president of Claims. “That’s why we participate in mock burns so that we can offer safety tips to our members based on what we see. Additionally, we look at coverage options families would need to make their house a home after devastation like fire. With Brand New Belongings, our members can focus on their own safety because they know we will repair or replace covered property with a comparable new item without any deduction for depreciation.”
The demonstration at the Nationwide Brand New Belongings Burn House showed the speed at which fires can start and spread. According to research by NFPA, one-third of American households estimate they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. In reality, families have as little as three minutes to escape safely after the alarm sounds.
Recovering after a fire
Once everyone is safe, the second concern for families is personal property. Nationwide members can have confidence that they won’t have to invest twice in their personal belongings. With Nationwide’s Brand New Belongings option, members can have personal property repaired or replaced with a comparable new item without any deduction or depreciation. Nationwide will pay the full cost of repair or the replacement cost of an identical or comparable new item, whichever costs less.
- Members with Brand New Belongings coverage first receive a check for the actual cash value (the depreciated amount) of their covered item. After they purchase a replacement item or have the item repaired, they simply send the receipt to Nationwide, which will pay them the difference.
- Brand New Belongings is an optional coverage offered on Nationwide Insurance’s homeowner, condo and tenant policies.
- Policies vary by state, limits and exclusions apply. If you have any questions about Brand New Belongings, be sure to contact a Nationwide representative.
“With dropping winter temperatures, often the first thought is how to keep your family warm,” said Tom Stewart, Fire Chief, Orange Township Fire Department. “It is important to make sure safety is a key component—alternative heating can be a cost efficient way to provide warmth to your family, but only if used correctly.”
Helpful Tips to Prevent House Fires this Winter
Nationwide Insurance wants consumers to stay warm and safe during the winter months. Here are a few space heater safety tips your family can use to help prevent alternative heating fires in your home this winter:
- Keep it Level: Always place the space heater on a hard, level, and nonflammable surface (not on rugs or carpets).
- The Three Foot Rule: Ensure the space heater is at least three feet from anything that can burn (such as bedding, furniture and drapes).
- Kid-free Zone: Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Don’t Leave it Running: Never leave a space heater on when you leave a room or go to sleep.
- Got Smoke Alarms?: Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
- Heat Does Expire: Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a recognized testing lab.
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Ensure your heater is the right size for your home to avoid carbon monoxide.
- Don’t Extend Yourself: Plug an electric-powered space heater into an outlet with enough capacity and avoid using an extension cord.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
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