Bonfire night (5th November) is the busiest time of the year for home insurance claims, with burglaries and accidental fires more common than any other time of the year.
Insurer Aviva analysed its claims data over ten years and found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, bonfire night leads to a 60% increase in fire claims. A typical house fire can cause £12,800 of damage.
Increase in burglaries
Although the number of garden bonfires and fireworks displays accounts for the rise in fire claims, there is also a high number of burglaries and vandalism reported on 5th November.
Aviva reported a 22% increase in burglaries compared to a typical day, as well as a 70% rise in malicious damage claims in the week of bonfire night. There was also a 20% increase in car thefts.
Simon Warsop, chief underwriting officer at Aviva, said: “We have more burglary claims on Bonfire night than any day of the year. Many families will be out enjoying the spectacle, but the distractions of loud fireworks gives opportunistic thieves the chance to steal from homes.”
Lack of security
Burglars often take advantage of the front entrances to homes being left unguarded when people are enjoying fireworks in their back garden.
According to Aviva’s data, 13% of people admit leaving their front door unlocked when they’re having their own display, and two thirds don’t check their windows are locked.
A third (33%) say they don’t check their windows and doors are locked before leaving the house to attend a public fireworks display or bonfire.
Warsop said: “Many people leave doors open when having a party and others don’t always check their house is properly locked when they go out to enjoy some fireworks fun. With more burglars on the prowl, this could lead to an unforgettable fireworks night for all the wrong reasons.”
Tips to deter burglars
– If you are leaving the house, leave a radio and lights on to give the impression that people are at home. You can also use a timer switch to turn lights on as it gets dark.
– Avoid telling strangers who know your address — such as delivery men — that your house is likely to be empty.
– Ensure your car is parked safely, ideally in a locked garage, and ensure your car keys are kept out of sight of potential burglars.