Abbey: Check home insurance as winter warming causes £3.3 million annual damage

08 October 2007
Figures from Abbey Insurance have revealed the extent of the damage caused by electric blankets and heaters in UK homes as householders stave off the winter chill.

According to the research by Abbey Insurance, nearly half of the adult population, 19.6 million people, plan to use some form of heating appliance in their bedroom other than central heating to keep warm this winter including electric blankets (41.5%) electric heaters (31%) and oil radiators (10%).

Government data also shows that around 4,500 accidental fires start in the bedroom each year and that around 1,600 of these are caused by space heating appliances. With electric blankets alone causing most of the damage, 99 per cent of which are believed to be caused by blankets over 10 years old, Abbey is advising householders to ensure that they follow several simple steps to keep themselves safe as well as checking that they are fully insured.

Prasad Shastri, Head of Insurance Marketing at Abbey, comments of the findings: "It is understandable that additional heating appliances are used during the winter, but it is important that they are checked prior to use to ensure that they are not faulty and that they are used correctly otherwise they could prove to be very dangerous.”

The appliance likely to cause the most damage is the oil radiator which can cost the owner £809 in damages, while electric heaters will cause £416 worth of damage. Gas fires are used by around £1.7 million people and cost an average £308 of damage while the traditional open fireplace is used by 894,000 and requires an average of £228 to repair damage after an accident.

“We would always advise that people do not leave the heating appliances unattended or fall asleep with it on,” adds Prasad Shastri. “Purchasing a timer switch will ensure that electric heaters are not left on longer than necessary. Always exercise caution if the heater has not been used for a while, and if in any doubt, get a qualified person to check that it is not faulty.”

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