18th October 2016

Avoiding Bonfire Night & Halloween Insurance Nightmares

Zombies, vampires and ghosts may soon be coming to a street near you!

Luckily, for most of us, it will all be in the name of Halloween fun but for others it’s also the perfect opportunity to commit a crime. So here are some tips to avoid any problems or “Halloween insurance nightmares”.

Halloween costumes make it easier to disguise people’s identities and the darker days being ushered in by the clocks going back also makes it easier to go unnoticed. What’s more, people may have their guard down as they open their doors to trick-or-treaters. This may explain why in recent years several parts of the UK have reported a rise in crime during Halloween.

Crime also rises on Bonfire Night because the noise and crowds at the fireworks can create a distraction that makes it easier to commit crimes. Some of the crimes most commonly reported during Halloween and Bonfire Night include vandalism, fires, car crimes and the theft of electronic goods like laptops and phones. Accidents caused by fires and busy streets are also more prone.

Lighting a safe bonfire

Taking a few precautions can help you and your family stay safe during the festivities. If unfortunately something does go wrong, making sure you’ve taken a few sensible measures beforehand may also make it easier if you have to file an insurance claim. Although insurance is likely to cover you if your house is damaged by a stray firework, you’ll still need to show you took reasonable measures to prevent an accident.

Here are a few precautions you can take before starting your bonfire:

  • Make sure your fireworks have the BS 7114 mark to show they meet certain safety standards
  • Check the weather beforehand, since damp weather may cause smoke to linger and windy conditions may cause it to travel to areas where it may be obstructive, like roads
  • Never use accelerants like aerosols, spirits or petrol, which can be explosive
  • Don’t burn rubbish because it can cause pollution
  • Have a bucket of water or hose pipe handy in case the fire gets out of control
  • Don’t drink alcohol while lighting your fire and stand an arm’s length away to light it
  • Don’t light your fire too close to any properties
  • Stand well back during the fire
  • Only light dry material
  • Supervise children at all times
  • Keep pets indoors

You can find more details about procedures you need to follow in the duty-of-care section of your insurance policy.

Tips for staying safe at Halloween

Going trick-or-treating can be lots of fun but busy streets, excited children and jack-o-lanterns can be a dangerous mix if you don’t take a few simple steps to stay safe.

Leaving doors and windows unlocked, or failing to maintain your smoke alarms, could affect your insurance claim too. Being cautious will help you stay safe and make it easier if you need to make an insurance claim because it will help you demonstrate you took measures to prevent an accident.

Here are some simple safety measures you can follow:

  • Leave lights on to give the impression someone is in the house. Light timers can be useful for this
  • Check windows are looked when you’re out
  • If you’re hosting a party, make sure you lock your front door behind you whenever you let someone in
  • Lock your shed
  • Check who you are opening your front door to and if you don’t feel safe don’t respond
  • Don’t place jack-o-lanterns where they can easily cause fires
  • Drive extra carefully to avoid accidents, particularly in residential areas where children may unexpectedly run into the road
  • Make sure your children understand how to stay safe on the streets
  • Check your child’s costume is made from flame resistant materials like nylon and polyester, rather than natural fibres like cotton
  • Incorporate reflective materials into your child’s costume if you can

If you need help with a fire insurance claim simply call our 24/7 National Helpline on
0844 544 1699 or request a call back by dialling 0330 022 9179.

Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment

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