How to keep your home fire safe and avoid an insurance claim this winter

Alex Gillezeau

Tuesday 03 July 2018

While getting nice and toasty next to the fire in winter is a great way to warm up, poor fireplace maintenance is one reason for the 22% increase in Tasmanian winter fire claims since 2016, according to RACT Insurance.

Home and Contents Insurance Fire Saftey

RACT chief executive Trent Sayers told The Examiner that a large number of fire related claims were due to preventable incidents.

“We found that over half of these fires were caused by inattention or accident, like logs falling out of the fireplace or not closing the door properly,” he said.

Simple fireplace follies actually made up a considerable 32% of Tasmanian house fire insurance claims last year. The other big cause for winter house fires was electrical faults, which made up 28% of claims.

A house fire can be devastating, and it's only made worse by the fact that it’s estimated 4 in 5 Australian homes are underinsured, leaving people dealing with financial strain, along with personal and emotional distress.

How to protect your home from fire related accidents

To help you avoid the need to make a fire related home and contents insurance claim, here are a couple quick tips:

Keep your heater and fireplace clear

Sometimes it's not the fire itself that's the problem, but what you've got around it. For both fireplaces and heaters, having anything, particularly flammable objects, within 2 metres can pose a threat and possibly catch a light. And if you are drying anything (2 metres away) in front of the heater or fireplace, make sure to check on it regularly.

Don’t overload powerboards

Having too many plugs connected to a single outlet through one or more packed up powerboard is one way that a fire can start, especially if you have damaged plugs or power cables are wild and tangled. Try to spread out where you plug in all your appliances and devices to avoid this issue. Also, it’s a good idea to only buy powerboards that come with overload protection, as they will help mitigate overheating and the possibility of a fire.

Keep your appliances clean

From your toaster to your dryer, you have a number of appliances in your house that run the risk of becoming a fire hazard, especially if not properly maintained. If you clean the crumbs from the toaster, clear the lint from the dryer and keep all possible fire trigger appliances clean and tidy, you can do a lot to lower the possibility on an impromptu dryer fire.

Change insurance

While we have offered a number of ways to lower the likelihood of a fire, unfortunately, you can’t always prevent these things. This is where proper home and contents insurance can bring some much needed peace of mind. A house fire will always cause a degree of stress, but the right insurance will make the process of rebuilding a lot easier and will most likely save you a bundle of cash in the long run.

Check out our ultimate home insurance guide to help you work out whether your home insurance has got you covered. If it isn't up to scratch, it might be time to compare home and contents insurance and trade it in for a new policy.

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