More time spent at home and in the garden since the start of the pandemic is influencing the type of home insurance claims householders are making, new research has revealed.
The number of home insurance claims as a result of a fire has shot up, according to data from March to November 2020 from LV= General Insurance.
Comparing figures with the average number of claims in the previous four years, LV= has seen a 225% increase in claims as a result of bonfire and a 56% increase in claims caused by cigarettes, matches, and lighters since March 2020.
Other areas where claims have shot up are blockages to sinks, drains and toilets, which have gone up by 40%, bicycle thefts from gardens, which are up by 21% and a 14% increase in claims for computer or office equipment, which has broken or fallen, along with damage to spectacles.
House burglaries down by a third
But the good news is that with more people working from home, there has been a 34% decrease in the proportion of house burglaries; a 26% fall in the number of claims for accidental loss for items away from the home; and a 13% drop in the number of claims for damage caused by an animal – presumably as more owners are at home to keep a watchful eye on their pets.
Commenting on the data, Martin Milliner, the insurer’s claims director, said: “Being at home more often means we’re more likely to drop things and have accidents inside, whereas we’ve seen a decrease in claims from outside the home such as accidental loss. It’s also encouraging to see a decrease in burglary claims.
“With the country now back in lockdown, we expect we’ll see these trends pick up again and we’d encourage homeowners to think about some of the steps they can take to look after their home, gardens and contents.”
Tips to avoid household accidents and cut insurance claims
- Keep bonfires away from windows, trees, fences and hedges, sheds and outbuildings and surround with stones or bricks and ensuring. Also check the direction of the wind. Where possible put garden waste in the recycling or compost it rather than burn it.
- Check and double-check that cigarettes have been extinguished – smoke outside if possible.
- To avoid blockages, don’t pour cooking oil or grease in the sink – instead save it into a container and dispose of it with your household waste. Similarly, throw used ground coffee away or use it your compost. Pour a little hot water into the sink after you have used it to clear debris. From time to time, pour a cup of vinegar or baking soda and hot water to remove built-up debris from pipes, or a use a household drain blocker.
- Try not to keep fragile items such as mobile phones and glasses in pockets which may fall out or get squashed.
- Lock up bicycles with padlocks in sheds and garages or bring them indoors at night.
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