The Covid-19 pandemic has seen homeowners turning, in their droves, to scented candles that will provide a sense of wellbeing and uplift. Experts have highlighted a 29% increase in sales during the pandemic. But what does this mean for candle fires and resulting property insurance claims, as candles are notoriously dangerous for both lives and property, due to their relative instability and the dangers that naked flames always pose?
Quite simply, candle fires can be extremely dangerous, taking hold quickly and often when a property owner is not in the room, or has fallen asleep. For this reason, 40% of all candle fires result in death or injury. That tragic statistic also probably tells you just how much property damage can result from a candle fire.
Candle fires and property damage
Candle fires can result in extensive fire damage, often engulfing entire rooms before a homeowner is even aware of a problem. For this reason, smoke alarms are vital and should be fitted on at least every floor of a property. If you are a regular candle user, you should also fit smoke alarms in rooms in which you burn those candles.
Given the fact that many candle fires are severe, so too is the fire damage to properties and also the resulting water damage, if the fire brigade are called to put the fire out. Fixtures and furnishings can obviously be lost, but it is longer-term damage to walls and ceilings – the fabric of the house – plus its electrics and other ‘unseen’ elements, that are the most difficult to assess when it comes to an insurance claim. Unless you know what you are doing – which few of us do – your claim submission could fall far short of the payment required to put things back to how they were pre-fire.
Why are candles so dangerous?
Candles tend to be fragile and susceptible to external impacts, be that a pet’s over-exuberance, a gust of wind through an open window, a draught, or just a clumsy movement that knocks them sideways. They look attractive in all the wrong places, such as windowsills, where they can set curtains alight, or under shelves, which they can heat to such an extent that they set alight. Even within something that seems safe, such as a glass jar, when the wax level becomes low, the heat can melt the glass or make it shatter. Another issue occurs when the wick becomes too tall, creating a higher flame than that which the candle originally had. And, when we are using them for relaxation, we may also have a little tipple – and that can lower our defences and make us less aware and clumsier.
What to do if a candle fire catches you out?
As long as you can extinguish a small fire safely, do so, using something like a fire blanket, or water, if there is nothing electrical around. If you have regularly tested your smoke alarm batteries and have a smoke alarm that has alerted you to the issue, you may get away with things relatively lightly. If the fire is too widespread, however, get out of the house and quickly call the Fire Service.
Once the fire is extinguished, you need to somehow start to process an insurance claim, for not just possessions but the structural damage too. It is unlikely to just be a case of repainting and you may well need to get experts in, to assess how far into the walls the chemicals generated by a fire have spread.
A fire insurance claim is not easy, which is why many home and commercial property insurance policyholders call Aspray in, when they need to claim on their home, office or bigger industrial premises’ insurance policy.
The Aspray service gives insured policyholders the voice in negotiations that the law entitles them to have, so that negotiations for the claim can be fair and not all about the insurer imposing their view of what constitutes a just claims settlement.
Additionally, the majority of Aspray customers pay Aspray nothing for the service, because they have Aspray not just strive to negotiate a fair settlement but also manage the repairs and property reinstatement process, using approved contractors.
So, if you do suffer a candle fire – or any other type of fire – at your property, Aspray can step in and support you with your building insurance claim, every step of the way, until your property is reinstated and you can live life normally again.