Home Insurance Claims - Insurance companies are bracing themselves for a possible rise in home insurance claims, following the July 1st smoking ban. With people banned from smoking in public places, insurance companies are predicting an increase in the numbers of people smoking in the home, thereby increasing the risk of home fires and insurance claims.
|Home Insurance Claims|
According to recent research by the financial services provider, Abbey, 425,000 fires are started in homes each year by smoking materials, causing damages worth an average of £25,500. In addition, a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announcement in January of this year revealed that smoking was the biggest cause of fire-related deaths in the home. Nearly a third of all households have a smoker living in them, with an average of 132 deaths and 1,600 injuries a year caused by accidental home fires related to smoking materials. A Direct Line Home Insurance survey also suggests that following the ban, an additional 16 million cigarettes may now be smoked indoors every week, resulting in a possible increase from 60 to 100 smoking-related house fires per week. For smokers, it makes uncomfortable reading, but it may also have implications for your home insurance.
Depending on where you live, you may already have some concerns over your future home insurance premiums, especially if you have been affected by the recent flooding across the UK. If claims are also to rise due to smoking-related home fires, you may be worried that the cost of your home insurance will soar. Thankfully, however, home insurance premiums are currently very favourable, with the index of average quoted premiums on home contents insurance falling by 3.22% year on year. Buildings insurance cover (as a homeowner, you will need both building and contents insurance), is also competitively priced with average premiums falling by 0.20% year on year.
What you do need to ensure, however, is that you are adequately covered for these potentially increased risks. Especially if you smoke or live with a smoker, you need to ensure that your existing policy covers you in the event of fire; indeed, the same goes if you live in a flood-risk area. Understanding the risks you are exposed to and regularly checking your insurance policy, will give you security and peace of mind. It may also be worth taking this opportunity to research available home insurance offerings – with such good deals currently in the marketplace, there has never been a better time to find the right policy for your individual needs.
If you or others are going to be smoking in your home, you may also want to take on board some sensible precautionary tips. The following DCLG guidance, for example, could prevent a fire in your home:
* Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. * Never smoke in bed – if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire. * Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down. * Buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes – every year children die by starting fires with matches and lighters. Keep these where children can’t reach them. * Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. Make sure your cigarette is not still burning when you are finished – put it out, right out. * Tap your ash into an ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish – and don’t let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray. * Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – when a fire starts, you only have a few minutes to escape. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999. You can get a basic smoke alarm for the same price as a packet of cigarettes. Better still are smoke alarms with long-life batteries or are mains-powered.
And, of course, if you’re a smoker suffering the consequences of the smoking ban, perhaps now is the time to bite the bullet and give up. After all, it may not only save you a home-insurance claim, but will also have a rather pleasant impact on the price of your life insurance and, of course, your quality of life in general.