February Follies

You did what?! Even if your heart is in the right place, accidents can happen. These are accidents you never want to have to explain to your adjuster – or anyone else.

“I’ll have fries with that steak”

A Florida couple lived on the third floor of a four-story condominium building with four units per floor. Every year the condominium community threw an annual Valentine’s Day Sweetheart pot luck and dance in their club house. The couple decided to cook their own romantic dinner at home this year instead. They grilled steaks and deep fried shrimp. As they prepared to fry the shrimp, they had a little smooching session on the balcony. The cooking oil overheated and when they went back into the home, smoke billowed from the deep fryer, setting off the smoke detector. Even though the couple frantically opened windows and the sliding door, they could not turn off the smoke detector. The husband grabbed his six-foot ladder, reached up and unplugged the smoke detector. Much to their relief, the alarm stopped. Unfortunately, as he put the ladder away, he accidentally struck the fire-protection sprinkler head, knocking it off. Water flowed everywhere and before the fire department could respond, they flooded not only the couple’s unit, but those of their neighbors in the units below. Before the sprinklers could be deactivated, a total of twelve units were damaged. The moral of the story? Romantic dinners are safer without fried food.

“Talk about blowing it”

A commercial landscaper sometimes used a blow torch to burn weeds on driveways and along commercial buildings and often regaled his wife with stories of his near mishaps while using the blow torch. Although her husband normally did the landscaping at their home, the Mrs. was tired of asking him to clean up the yard. One weekend while he was gone on a fishing trip, she decided she couldn’t stand her messy yard any longer and would take cleanup into her own hands. After she finished cutting the grass, she took out the edger. However, try as she might she could not get the edger to work. She remembered her husband telling her about burning weeds with the blow torch. “This can’t be rocket science,” she thought. She grabbed the blow torch, and started burning weeds near the house. She failed to anticipate the flammability of her yard waste, let alone the home’s wood siding. The wood siding caught on fire, charring the entire side of the home. The landscaper realized his wife was serious when she asked to have the yard landscaped. He took the blowtorch to his commercial garage and hired their own landscaper after their insurance company paid a substantial claim.

“Where there’s smoke there’s fire”

A young couple had just purchased their first home. A foreclosure property, the house needed some work to the interior. The couple had just finished painting the interior and was contemplating future improvements. Since money was tight, the insureds decided to celebrate their first wedding anniversary in their new home. Neither of them had ever owned a home before or lived in one with a fireplace. Thinking, “How hard can this be?” the couple gathered some wood from their yard left by the previous owners, used old newspapers to start the fire and relaxed on the sofa as they watched the fire grow. Quickly, though, smoke started pouring out of the fireplace. Soot, embers and noxious fumes began to coat the living room. Not only had the couple failed to open the flue, firefighters later told them that the fireplace hadn’t been cleaned in years. They were forced to submit an insurance claim after only a few weeks in their new home. They are hoping their second anniversary goes smoother.

“Hot romance gets out of hand”

A woman decided that for her 25th anniversary she would light some candles for a romantic evening with her husband. She placed one lit candle on each step and several down the hall leading to the master suite. Her husband arrived and immediately noticed his wife’s intentions. As he hurried up the stairs after her, he began undressing, throwing his clothes on the floor on his route to the bedroom. Unfortunately, his synthetic shirt landed on a nearby candle, catching it on fire. The fire quickly spread to a nearby overstuffed chair, then to the wood railing. By the time the couple realized their home was on fire, they were forced to escape through the upstairs balcony, their semi-clothed appearance on the balcony explaining louder than words exactly what was happening when the fire started. The home was seriously damaged. Their relationship? Smoking.

Each one of these could have been an expensive experience for homeowners in Florida and South Carolina. The bad news is that the unlucky homeowner had to file an insurance claim. There is good news, however. No one was hurt during the events described above.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.