The advice to a Tokoroa couple to double their contents insurance pre-empted a heart-breaking New Year’s Day fire.

Dairy farmers Jocelyn and Chris Luxford returned to their home on January 1 after a few days away at the beach. The first job for Chris when he arrived home was to light the wood burner for the water heater.

“We’d unpacked the car and I was sitting at the kitchen table checking the mail,” says Jocelyn.

When Chris went outside, he noticed that there was smoke coming from the roof.

“Chris said to me ‘I think we’ve got a fire’. We used our fire extinguishers, but we couldn’t put it out and so we called the fire brigade.

“The 111-operator advised us to leave the house immediately and we took the car from the garage and left,” says Jocelyn.

The most probable cause of the fire was pyrophoric action in the timber surrounding the water heater flue extending through the ceiling cavity.

Sadly, the fire would destroy the Luxfords' entire home and its contents. “Everything was gone,” says Jocelyn.

Thankful for good advice at annual review

Robyn Butterworth is the Luxfords' long-standing Rural Manager and visits them annually, and as needed, to support them with advice and their insurances.

“When we saw Robyn for our annual review to go over the farm insurance, she said that she didn’t think our contents cover was enough and advised us to double it – gosh she was on the ball. We’re very grateful for what we’ve been covered for, especially give the fire made us look at what our contents was worth,” says Jocelyn.

Community support and claims experience a silver lining

Jocelyn says they were so grateful for response and support from the local community and FMG.

“We were offered several houses to live in and accepted the offer of a fully furnished house which was ideal as we had lost everything. The house was even stocked with groceries when we arrived, and we owe a debt of gratitude to this couple who’ve made us feel so welcome. The rural community and Fonterra kept us supplied with dinners for several weeks and also replaced Chris’ farm clothing. We’re humbled by the level of support we received and are still receiving,” says Jocelyn.

Following the fire, another farmer got in touch with FMG on the Luxfords' behalf.

“Even though Robyn our rural manager was on holiday, she and the claims assessor Kevin Curtis came back to help us. We’ve found FMG so helpful — we can’t fault them.”

The Luxfords' advice to others

“Absolutely check your insurance policy and make sure you’ve got enough contents cover. Take videos of your contents and make sure to store these in the ‘cloud’ – you’d be really surprised at what the value to replace your contents is. Lastly, I’d recommend to others to get a fireproof lockbox to keep things that matter to you safe,” says Jocelyn.