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Distracted Brits cause £62m worth of damage a year

Press release: 12/10/2015

  • Rise in multi-tasking and mobile use drives up distraction accidents in the home
  • Brits now spend nearly as much time using technology as they do sleeping
  • Top 10 most common incidents include staining the carpet, starting a fire on the hob and burning a surface with an iron

Brits' homes are under threat from their distracted owners, according to the latest research from LV= home insurance.

The research reveals that Brits are spending nearly as much time online as they do sleeping in bed and are multi-tasking more than ever before – leading to a surge in 'distraction accidents'.

Last year alone, a staggering £62 million[1] was spent on repairs and replacements from such accidents, with the amount of 'distraction damage' around the home trebling since 2010[2].

Brits have been consistently clumsy over the past two years, with approximately one million people causing damage to their home or its contents because they were distracted in both 2014 and 2013[3]. However, there has been a steep rise in the number of incidences over the past five years, with just 320,000 recorded back in 2010.

Those aged between 35 and 44 have been the worst culprits for distraction damage – and are also the most likely to be heavy multi-taskers – averaging five hours a day on multiple activities.

The most common incidents occurring due to distraction in the home include staining the carpet (34%), starting a fire on the hob (27%) and burning an item of clothing or furniture with an iron (19%). More obscure incidents included putting a foot through the loft floor (11%) or tripping and causing damage to a wall (11%). See Table 1 below for the full top 10.

Close to a fifth (18%) of incidences of 'distraction damage' occur because Brits are texting or chatting on their mobile phones, but watching a programme on TV (10%) or browsing social media (8%) are also to blame. When Brits were asked what they found to be the most distracting in the home, TV and mobile phones both fell into the top three.

And it's no surprise, as Brits spend an average of a quarter of the day (six hours) looking at devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops – nearly as much as the seven hours a day they spend sleeping.

LV= is today encouraging vigilance both inside and outside the home to stop preventable damage from occurring.

With our busy lives and increasing number of tasks on to do lists it is easy to get distracted. We're here to help if you cause accidental damage to your home or possessions, but it's worth checking that you have adequate cover as not all items are included as standard. By taking care and slowing down you could avoid such damage and potential injury from a slip or a fall in the first place.

Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= home insurance

Table 1. The top 10 most common incidences that occur in the home because Brits are distracted.



% of all incidences


Spilling something, causing staining to the floor or carpet



Something catching fire on the hob



Spilling something, causing staining to furniture



The iron burning clothing, the ironing board or a surface



Slipping and causing damage to an expensive ornament or heirloom



Slipping and causing damage to a piece of electrical equipment (e.g. TV, DVD player, games console)



Overflowing the bath or sink



Slipping and causing damage to a piece of furniture



Slipping and causing damage to a floor or wall



Putting a foot through the loft floor


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ICM Unlimited conducted omnibus research on behalf of LV= home insurance among a representative sample of 2,003 Britons. This research was conducted in September 2015.

1. Source: ICM. 1,004,000 Brits had an accident in their home in and caused damage to either the property or its contents in 2014. The average cost to repair the damage or replace the items was £62.09. Assuming each person only cause 'distraction damage' once, this means approximately £62 million was spent on this in total last year.

2. Source: ICM. Of those who have had an accident in the home and caused damage to either the property or its contents, 12% did so in 2010 and 36% in 2014.

3. Source: ICM. 1,004,000 incidences in 2014 and 1,015,000 in 2013.

For further information please contact:

Nicola Hussey,, 020 8253 5238 / 07468 761 128

Sinead Meckin, , 0203 657 9779 / 07815 489087


LV= employs 6,000 people and serves over 5.5 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.