Fuseworks Media

Cooking disasters ‘soar’ as the festive season arrives

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my exuberant cooking efforts gave to me – a State insurance claim resulting from a burnt turkey.

With the holiday season right around the corner, New Zealanders flock to their kitchens like enthusiastic MasterChef contestants to exercise their culinary creativity – often pushing the boundaries of both their skills and appliances, and in some cases, unintentionally contributing to another year of Christmas cooking disasters.

State insurance data – taken from the largest general insurance data source in New Zealand – reveals over 30% of contents claims from Christmas Day are related to damage occurring during meal preparation – with the iconic Christmas turkey making an appearance in several claim stories.

Executive General Manager Claims, Wayne Tippet reports that kitchen claims from mishaps and cooking disasters were up an incredible 92% on Christmas day last year.

Aspiring Jamie Oliver, and annual creator of a hearty homecooked Christmas meal, Wayne reveals, “kitchen mishaps have now surpassed mobile phone claims which have typically taken out the top spot on our Christmas Day claims list.

“We’ve learnt that ‘blackened turkey’ might be a new Kiwi speciality too. In 2021, the popular Christmas turkey posed a great threat when frozen – cracking glass tables and kitchen tiles – but last year, the tables had turned.”

After reviewing its Christmas claims, the team at State have made a list (and checked it twice…) detailing its most commonly claimed for items:

State’s Twelve Claims of Christmas –

  • Cooking & kitchen appliances
  • Mobile phones
  • Eyewear
  • Jewellery
  • Televisions & accessories
  • Furniture
  • Computers & laptops
  • Hearing aids
  • Car accessories
  • Dentures
  • Watches
  • Bikes & scooters
  • Are hams and salads safest?

    Among the Christmas cooking disasters claimed for last year, hearing aids were microwaved, ovens were battered while incinerating turkeys, houses filled with charcoal turkey and cooking fumes, and phones fell into gravy jugs.

    “If you’re roasting anything, precaution in the kitchen could include setting the timer on your oven, or even your phone, which you may want to keep safe in your back pocket.”

    “Besides the cooking mishaps, there were also several claims resulting from fridge and freezer doors not closing properly and leaking,” adds Wayne

    The infamous ‘barbie’

    Cooking outside is an essential part of Kiwi culture – dinner hosts firing up the backyard ‘barbie’ – al fresco cooking and eating is a regular occurrence of any Kiwi dinner invite.

    State data shows that the infamous BBQ is also increasingly becoming a common cause of fire and was tied to 137 fire claims around Christmas time, last year.

    “With a dry summer ahead, paired with El Niño winds, wildfire risk is heightened for parts of the country.

    “If you’re using cooking equipment outdoors, planning a bonfire, or even heating stones for a hangi, check the fire warnings and bans in place before you light.”

    Clumsy captains

    While boat claims were down last year, the accidents happening on them, weren’t.

    “Our data shows that a long list of valuables are lost to the ocean and lakes every Christmas, including jewellery, fishing rods, phones and surprisingly, even dentures,” continues Wayne.

    Tricky trees

    While State insurance data shows Christmas tree claims are down, it’s still the season for unseen twists and placing large decorative trees still proves tricky for New Zealanders.

    “We’ve seen Christmas trees fly off trailers, tumble into televisions, and become a target for airborne felines, so we should all be careful about where the Christmas tree is going and ensure it is well secured before turning our backs,” cautions Wayne.

    Holiday trends

    Cooking mishaps are not just isolated to just Christmas Day.

    “Nearly 400 contents claims lodged from Boxing Day through to January, were related to kitchen appliances and cooking,” says Wayne.

    With State insurance contents claims soaring from Boxing Day onwards, there’s a trend with mobile phones making up 30% of contents claims over the holiday period, up 16% the holiday period prior.

    Mindful that all sorts of mishaps can occur around Christmas time, Wayne says, “if you do need to make an insurance claim, we’ll have our team working throughout the festive season to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.”


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