Christmas time in the world of insurance

Festive candles, fairy lights and flambéed Christmas puds are essential parts of the Christmas tradition, but they all contribute to what is the worst day of the year for fire claims, according to statistics from Aviva this month.

10 years worth (2003-12) of Aviva claims data shows that Christmas Day sees an increase in fire claims of 120% compared with an average day as kitchens go into overdrive to prepare the festive feast.

A rise in burglaries is seen on New Year’s Eve. The data also shows that thefts jump up by 8% as revellers party the night away, leaving their homes unoccupied. Expensive presents are a magnet for would-be grinches on the prowl. Simple precautions like keeping your presents out of sight from passing thieves, turning off fairy lights and putting out candles, can all reduce these festive hazards.

Meanwhile on the roads the week leading up to Christmas sees a 20% increase in car accident claims compared to the average day, probably because people are rushing around buying presents on dark wintry roads. But between Christmas and New Year, “all is calm, all is bright.” The five safest days of the year for motor theft are from Christmas to the 29th December.

Tips to stay safe and to help make sure you have a happy Christmas:

  • Take care when cooking Christmas dinner – ovens will be working over-time and it’s easy to leave gas hobs on when the house is busy and noisy.
  • Check fairy lights, don’t over load sockets and switch them off when you’re out and when you go to bed.
  • Don’t place the tree and decorations near candles or the fireplace.
  • Don’t make your home look like a shop window for burglars by leaving presents under the tree – try to keep them out of sight until the big day.
  • Ensure all gift packaging is as unidentifiable as possible when you throw it out. It’s easy to just dump new TV or iPod boxes in or near your outside bin, but it’s a beacon for opportunistic burglars.
  • If you can, leave lights and the TV or radio on if you’re out and about over Christmas so burglars think that you’re home.
  • Be neighbourly – keeping an eye out for suspicious behaviour and alerting the police if necessary is the right thing to do and could mean you prevent a miserable Christmas or New Year for your neighbour.

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