Despite a perception that bushfires are the most common fire threat to Australian homes, figures from insurer Allianz Australia show that the majority of fire claims result from fires that start in the home.
The use of open fires, candles, portable heating devices and electric blankets all contribute to an increased risk of residential fires, particularly during the colder months.
Bob Gelling, National Claims Manager at Allianz Australia, says each winter the insurer receives claims for more than 20 homes destroyed by a fire that started within the home, with four times as many claims being for minor fire damage.
“For fire claims there is certainly a lot higher frequency in the colder months than during the summer period,” Mr Gelling said. “Inevitably there is a heater, open fireplace or potbelly stove involved as people try to beat the winter chill.”
“People also tend to dust off their electric blankets, without checking for frayed cords or damaged wiring which can short circuit and start a fire.”
Mr Gelling says that as the temperature starts to drop, homeowners should take steps to ensure their most prized possessions are adequately protected should the unthinkable happen, such as ensuring they are fully insured. If they don’t already have them, they should also consider installing fire alarms.
“Your home is probably the largest investment you are going to make, so take time to ensure that it is properly protected,” he said. “The only thing worse than having your home destroyed by fire is facing up to the fact that you weren’t adequately insured.”
Around 1.8 million Australian households, or nearly one in four, do not have either home or contents insurance (or both), according to research prepared for the Insurance Council of Australia – that’s 23 per cent of all homes. So if you’re not insured, it may be worth seriously considering the benefits of home and contents insurance now that winter is upon us.
At Police Bank we use Allianz Australia Insurance Limited (Allianz) as our preferred insurance provider. Allianz provides both home building and contents insurance cover to protect your assets when you need it most.