PRESS RELEASE

LV= warns homeowners as fire claims rise 40% in year

  • Overall fire claims rise by 40% between 2021 – 2022
  • Electrical appliances account for the highest number of fire claims, with electrical wiring issues the most expensive to fix, reaching over £42k on average
  • Fires relating to candles increased by 1600% in a month, with coal / log fire claims up 50%
  • 94% of electrical wiring related fires occur in properties built pre-1992, before the British Standards Institute introduced wiring regulations, leaving homeowners at risk if mains electrics aren’t checked

As the colder months creep in, and the cost of living rises, many will be looking to cut costs whilst trying to stay warm this winter. LV= General Insurance (LV= GI), one of the largest home insurers in the UK, is warning consumers to keep a close eye on items which cause fire hazards as claims from incidents involving electrical appliances and candles rise considerably. Overall with one year, fire claims have risen by 40%1 between 2021 – 2022.

 

Whether consumers have started using an electric blanket for extra heating, or lighting candles for light and ambience, fire hazards are always present. According to LV= GI new claims data, fires from candles rose an astonishing 1600% within one month from November – December 2021, and accounted for the highest number of candle related claims seen in the last few years. Volumes were up 70% from December 2020 and 54% from 2019.

 

However, when looking at fire claims by overall volume, electrical appliances top the list and account for the highest number of fire claims.

Main causes of fire claims:

 

Fire claim by volume

% of fire claims

Average contents insurance claim

Average buildings insurance claim

  1. Electrical appliances

23%

£7,066

£22,902

  1. Cooking accidents

11%

£2,506

£10,685

  1. Coal/ log fire accidents

10%

£2,869

£12,163

  1. Electrical wiring issues

9%

£8,417

£42,250

  1. Candles

7%

£3,286

£11,683

Electrical appliances, which account for around 23% of claims, have risen by 45% in a year from October 2021 – 2022. Cases involve an overloaded plug socket, used to power a TV, computer, printer and CCTV monitoring security system, a fire from a tumble dryer which was six years old, a hairdryer which was left on and overheated and an electrical fault linked to a hot water cylinder. Looking at claims within the kitchen, accidental cooking fires account for 11% of fire claims and involve items accidentally left on a hob which is switched on. LV= GI has also seen an increase of 66% from October 2021 – 2022.

 

When it comes to lighting a fire on a cold and frosty evening, many are leaving themselves open to hazards as they look for alternative ways to heat their homes. Claims relating to coal and log fires were up year on year, rising by 20% between January 2021 – January 2022. Between the months of December and January, claims rose by 50%, with accidents including flue blockages in log burners, ignition of soot and tar deposits within the chimney and hot coal falling out of an open fire.

 

It’s not just items around the home leaving consumers vulnerable to large scale fire claims. LV= GI has dealt with home claims where the age of a home and its electrical wiring has sparked a fire. 94% of electrical wiring related fires have happened in properties built pre-1992, before the British Standards Institute introduced wiring regulations, leaving homeowners at risk if fuse boxes and mains electrics aren’t checked. It’s recommended homeowners have electrical inspections every 5-10 years to determine the safety and condition of wiring within the house and can also indicate whether any work needs to be carried out. 

 

Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance comments, “There are so many hazards out there that will easily start a fire and we want to warn consumers about the risks through the insight and increase in claims we’re seeing. As the weather gets colder and we edge towards Christmas, we’re all going to be looking for alternative ways to heat and run our homes, and it’s about doing this in the safest way possible. Even small checks such as making sure sockets aren’t overloaded with Christmas lights will make a difference, as it doesn’t need to be a large item to spark and create a fire.”

 

Top tips:

  • Keep candles at least a foot away from anything flammable such as paper, fabric and curtains. Be aware of children and pets when lighting candles as knocking them over may cause injury as well as start a fire.
  • Tealight’s and candles should be placed on a fire heat/fire resistant surface.
  • Store electric blankets in line with manufactures guidelines.
  • Try to clean your hob of fat and grease which can easily catch fire and never leave a pan on the hob unattended.
  • If you own an older home and have never had the electrics checked, explore updating your electrical system. Don’t overload sockets or plug in devices with damaged electrical cords.
  • Make sure log/coal fires are properly put out safely. Check the burner is out of fire completely before leaving unattended and properly dispose of fire ashes after they have cooled down completely.
  • Keep paper and combustible materials used for the fire away from the opening, to avoid them catching light
  • Ensure flue’s/chimneys are swept. Find information from The National Association of Chimney Sweeps for guidance.
  • Keep an eye on electrical appliances and make sure they are switched off when not in use, and not left running overnight.
  • Ensure smoke alarms are fitted and regularly checked.

For further information:

Natasha King
Senior Press Officer, General Insurance
07443 237651

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1 LV= General Insurance fire claims data covering 2021 – 2022.