HOMEOWNERS are being urged to check the small print of their home and car insurance in the run-up to Christmas to ensure they’re covered for any festive mishaps.
Otherwise, families could unwittingly find they are not covered in the event of a Christmas claim.
This is according to Peopl Insurance (Peopl.ie), a nationwide provider of home insurance.
“In particular, homeowners should check if their home insurance will cover them if Christmas tree lights lead to a fire in the home,” said Paul Walsh, CEO of Peopl Insurance.
“Insurers will generally cover fire damage if Christmas tree lights set your tree – and home – on fire, even if the lights are faulty.
“However, insurers generally don’t cover any damage or loss that is caused by faulty workmanship or design and wear and tear - so if it is established that it was faulty Christmas tree lights that set your house on fire, you could possibly run into trouble getting a payout – depending on how hard a line your insurer takes on this.
“It’s very important therefore that you check your tree lights for any defects, including any loose connections or frayed wiring. Only buy Christmas tree lights with a genuine CE mark on them as this means they comply with European safety standards. Furthermore, only buy your lights from reputable stores, and don’t buy second-hand lights unless you get them professionally checked. These simple rules of thumb will not only help you when it comes to insurance, but they could also save your life and the lives of those dear to you.”
Peopl also urged homeowners to check their outdoor lights before putting them up – and to get help when putting such lights up, particularly if going up on a ladder to do so.
“Check your outdoor lights for any faults before you put them up – if you have used them before. As these are exposed to the elements, they are prone to damage. Know too that most home insurance policies won’t cover you for injuries sustained when putting up Christmas lights or decorations in your home – because accidents at home which involve a family or household member are generally not covered by house insurance.”
Other festive insurance advice which Peopl has ahead of Christmas includes: Be careful about leaving Christmas gifts in the boot of your car. Some car insurers will cover you if presents or other items are stolen from your car boot, but not all will.
One of the most common house insurance claims to arise over the festive season is for the damage caused by a Christmas tree in your living room falling over. TVs often get damaged over Christmas – after an unstable Christmas tree falls on it.
Such damage may be automatically covered by your home insurance – though check your policy in case accidental damage to the contents in your home is not covered.
Make sure to turn your alarm on when you leave the house over the festive season. Otherwise, your home insurer could refuse to cover you.
Most home insurers automatically increase the amount of cover in place for the contents in your home in the run-up to and over Christmas – to cover the gifts you would typically have in your home over the festive season. You should check how long this extra cover, which is usually in the region of 10pc to 20pc, is in place. Some insurers have this extra Christmas cover in place for the whole of December and January, others just for the month of December.
With house fires more common during the winter – and burglaries also likely to spike during the long dark evenings, Peopl is urging families to take extra precautions over Christmas.