Driving to Mexico? CLICK HERE

Confessions from an insurance agent who lit her kitchen on fire: How to Prevent Holiday Claim Disasters

Dare I say it?

There are Menorah’s in Target, Christmas tree’s in Walmart, Home Depot, and basically everywhere you can purchase merchandise.

They are here… cue the holiday music!

I personally tend to be one of those “early decorators” who are in desperate need of a Christmas 12 step program after January 1 of the next year rolls around. The great news for people like me, is we typically aren’t alone. We travel in packs. My sister, my mom and I every year have to talk each other off the “but it’s the day after Halloween I can put my tree up” ledge.

What most don’t realize is that over the holidays we are also so in tune with the “hustle and bustle” that we lose site of a lot of things that leave us Exposed.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane for a moment to my first ever Thanksgiving hosting at my new home. Not only was this my first Thanksgiving in my new home but this was my first time ever hosting Thanksgiving. (dun dun dun)

As many of you know I tend to be a Go big or go home  kind of woman. So in true fashion I invited 25 of my family members to attend the festivities which meant I needed a Turkey that could support that many people (keep in mind… I had never cooked a turkey). So Costco I went and picked up all of the fixings and the “I’ve got this” mentality that I tend to try to convince myself of when I am not 100% sure about something.

Up at 4 am on Thanksgiving day… it was game time.

I put on my fancy apron (yes of course I purchased a fancy apron for the occasion) and got to it.

This is the part as an insurance agent I am mortified to even discuss. However, being that I am trying to prevent you fine folks from doing the same thing I am thinking I need to take a full disclosure model with this one.

Everyone arrived, we were a few glasses (ok fine bottles) of wine in and I was getting ready to baste the turkey. What I should mention is that the recipe I found days before Turkey Day called for Champagne to help baste the turkey (see where this is going).

With a house full of family (thank God because friend’s would have left me at this point) I opened the oven door to baste the turkey. In doing so it must have let just enough oxygen in to catch and boom…. I had done it.


This is no exaggeration and this really happened. My entire oven was engulfed in flames and immediately my house full of family turned into their professions. My uncle, the engineer, stayed calm and immediately turned the oven off and tried to devise a plan to get the turkey out without catching the rest of the house on fire. My sister in law (about 5 months pregnant at the time) went into restaurant manager mode and grabbed the salt.

And I…. got ready to file an insurance claim.

Needless to say we got the turkey out, believe it or not it was undercooked. We shared a lot of memories that day, and I still haven’t hosted Thanksgiving since.

I also decided to devise a go to reminder tip list so as to maybe help your holidays not because an “insurance claim” nightmare.


I don’t need to elaborate on this do I? If you need to find out why this is a must… read the above story again. Also, you will want to make sure to be continuously checking your smoke alarm batteries (do a test every few months to make sure they are still working properly), and make sure that if there are any fire hazards in your home that need corrected… do it.

We all love Candles and love them especially during the holiday season when they smell like Pine or Balsam (it’s as close to a real tree as I get here in the desert). However, being that we don’t light a lot of candles in the summer time it is easy to forget to extinguish them before leaving the home. Give this job to your middle aged kids who still enjoy helping and also blowing out candles. It can be their job to make sure everything is off before leaving the property.


If you are back east then I feel you probably already have a routine in place to make sure your pipes are ready for the long winter. However, what a lot of people don’t realize especially out here in the desert is that all it takes is one hard freeze to create a claim nightmare.

ATI Restoration of Tucson recommends several ways to prevent from pipe freezes in the winter months:

  1. Covering your pipes with adequate pipe wrap is only half the battle. A lot of times people forget about the pipes in their attics which are also susceptible to freeze. Most claims start from frozen attic pipes that are not wrapped due to it not being a previous requirement for inspection on a new home build. When clients have a freeze in the attic they are running the risk of water damage, content damage, and even mold damage depending on how long the water damage is present.
  2. If you are a landlord and have a property in between renters, you will need to make sure you have climatized the home. What most people don’t realize is that if your home is vacant and you are renting it out if there is water damage caused by freeze it is typically not covered by your insurance unless you have had the home climatized.
  3. If you have an interior sprinkler system in your home you are more at risk of pipe freeze. The pipes used to supply the water to that system are a plastic pipe that is more susceptible to freezing due to the more exposure to the cold. It is not as heavily insulated and requires attention.

For more information on prevention and freezing tips visit ATI Restoration’s website and contact them.


You have just finished black Friday shopping… you have dealt with the masses and managed to make it out with your purse, your goodies, and let’s be honest you lost your soul when you got up that morning a 2 am to get that new MacBook.

You decide to treat yourself to a nice lunch at the Olive Garden before heading home. After you are done stuffing yourself full of the full Tour of Italy, you come out to your vehicle has been broken into. Every single present you just purchased has been stolen (this actually has happened to a friend of mine).

The second scenario to this is you go home and pull into your garage, you don’t notice the prowler and before you know it you are being robbed of all of your “loot” in your own garage. (again… this really happened).

Now, I am not trying to scare you into hiding in your home at night with a flashlight waiting for someone to break in. What I am trying to do is educate you and help you become more alert. To protect yourself from holiday thievery you must be proactive.

Here are some tips on how you can be proactive against being robbed this holiday season:

  1. Install that alarm system in your home. Normally companies like ADT or Frontpoint Alarms Systems offer special deals on free installation around this time of year. Make the call and get yourself some peace of mind. Tip*** Most Insurance Companies will also offer you a discount on your homeowners insurance by installing an alarm system.
  2. Don’t let your packages sit in your car unattended with your goodies! Make the extra trip home to drop them off and then head out to grab that quick bite to eat.
  3. When pulling into your home make sure to sit in your vehicle and close your garage door before exiting your vehicle. As silly as that may sound, you will have a peace of mind and safety that is simply just not worth taking the risk on.
  4. Close those windows at night time. For us here in Arizona it is especially easy for us to leave our windows open at night to let the cool air in. Even with an alarm system in place, it will only work as well as you let it. Close your house up tight.
  5. Be AWARE. Try to park close to the mall entrance, take a mental note where you parked, and above all else… shop during the day. This time of year vehicle thefts are at a high. Be aware when walking in parking lots and always have your keys out. If you really want to be proactive and you are a female you should check out a company like Damsel in Defense. They specialize in education about self defense and ways women can be proactive in caring for their safety.



There are many things I am thankful for in life….. 1. Purses and Shoes (yes I realize they are two items… but to me they go together) and 2. That I am not the man in the relationship who has to get up on a ladder and hang Christmas lights outside my house.

Can I get an Amen?
The hanging of the lights is one thing, the preparation, the excitement of playing which bulb is out, and most importantly  the strategic use of 50 extension cords to hang lights from the very top of your roof. What people don’t realize if done incorrectly this can not only cause serious exposure but it can also put you at risk for a giant Liability insurance claim. Here are some tips on how you can protect your self from getting “tangled in lights”

  • Before you jump up on that ladder take a moment and make sure all your cords are untangled, your bulbs are all in tact, and there is no exposure of any interior wiring. By taking a minute to check these items you can prevent a serious house fire.
  • Upgrade your exterior lights! Head to the nearest Home Depot, Lowes, or hardware store and treat yourself to some new fancy lights (excuse for me to get black and white lights!). Lights that are older don’t have the same fused plugs as new ones. This will help prevent surges that could potentially lead to fire. Say asta pasta to the old lights strings and go use your holiday cheer by purchasing new ones!
  • Hide those extension cords! After you are done placing your lights before you close up your garage for the day, make sure to go back and place your extension cords in a spot that wouldn’t be harmful to anyone. These are a huge trip exposure. You can place them in cracks in your entry way and cover with black electrical tape to make sure they are flush with the ground, or even just helps them from moving to cause an even more dangerous trip hazard.
  • Electrical Cords can get hot… check them periodically and make sure to have your lights set to timer so they aren’t on 24 hours a day. You don’t want them on overnight or when you aren’t home.
  • Don’t get creative with your use of product for light hanging. Use approved insulated light hooks. This will not only save you time in the long run but will also prevent you from thinking hammering or stapling your lights to your roof is acceptable (take it from the agent who almost set her house on fire… fire hazards are no joke).


As I get ready to close up my office, head to my sister’s house to help baste her turkey (ok let’s be honest… no one let’s me baste anything anymore) I am reminded that the holidays are a special time of year that truly can’t be replaced by “stuff” , however it is getting to enjoy those moments that matter. I hope you have found these tips helpful. If you have, do us a favor and help us share our article to help prevent other holiday claims disasters.

Happy Holidays from my Family to Yours.

Share This Post!