Ah, the holidays. Fresh-cut trees adorned with festive ribbons and ornaments, the sweet smell of cinnamon and nutmeg from scented candles waft through the house, a crackling fire warms the room while hundreds of twinkling bulbs light up the neighborhood outside.
And not a fire extinguisher in sight.
‘Tis the season for homeowners insurance claims. Combine a dried-out tree and aging decorations with the crackling spark of flames or electricity, and many homeowners get themselves one nightmarish holiday display. Fire (along with the water to put the flames out) is the cause of one out of every 25 homeowners property claims, with the heaviest losses coming during the holiday season, according to Marlene Ibsen, spokeswoman for insurer Travelers Property Casualty Corp. in Hartford, Conn.
In the wake of a disaster, homeowners’ natural response is to grab their policy and call their insurance agent pronto. But spend a few moments perusing consumer Web sites like Allstateinsurancesucks.com and StateFarmSucks.com (are you noticing a trend here?) and you’ll quickly see that plenty of homeowners who have gone that route have lived to regret it.