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Riskmas time – don’t let your Christmas go up in smoke

As kitchens go into overdrive this Christmas, Aviva is warning that the risk of festive fires increases as fire claims almost treble on Christmas Day.

Image of a fireplace at Christmas
Fire claims surges on Christmas day, while burglary claims increase sharply during the New Year's Eve celebrations

At 193% higher than average, the big day sees a significant spike in fire claims, with over-worked cookers, hot hobs and festive candles-a-plenty increasing the risk.

But Christmas doesn’t have to go up in smoke and some simple advice can help protect homes from a festive fire disaster:

  • Take care when cooking Christmas dinner – ovens will be working over-time and it’s easy to leave gas hobs on when the house is busy and noisy.
  • Check fairy lights, don’t over load sockets and switch them off when you’re out and when you go to bed.
  • Don’t place the tree and decorations near candles or the fireplace.
With kitchens going into overdrive at Christmas it’s easy to see why fire claims almost treble on the big day.  As well as enjoying the festivities, it’s also a time to take care and not take any fire risks.  So, make sure hobs are switched off, candles aren’t near decorations and sockets aren’t overloaded – otherwise Christmas could go up in smoke.
Adam Beckett, Product and Proposition Director at Aviva

Thefts fall at Christmas but rise for 'New Year’s Thieve'

Data from Aviva also shows that burglaries drop on Christmas Day with claims 57% lower than average.  However, vigilance is needed throughout the festive period as burglars are back out in force on New Year’s Eve with a 22% increase in theft claims while revellers are out celebrating.1

And data shows that mobile phones (43%) are the main item burglars take over the Christmas period, followed by tablet devices (19%), laptops (17%), TVs (8%) and games consoles (4%).1

The main items stolen by burglars over the Christmas period

  • Mobile phones


  • Tablets


  • Laptops


  • TVs


  • Other


Source: Aviva claims data 2016 and 2017

Adam Beckett added: “Although burglars do tend to take time-off at Christmas, it’s clear that it’s just a short respite while they get ready for New Year’s Eve. Expensive presents are a beacon for burglars, so keep them out of sight and make sure your home is completely locked and secure when you go out.”

Aviva’s Christmas security tips:

  • Ensure all gift packaging is as unidentifiable as possible when you throw it out. It’s easy to just dump new laptop or mobile phone boxes in or near your outside bin, but it’s a beacon for opportunistic burglars.
  • Double-check the home security before you leave your home for a Christmas or New Year party. Ensure all doors, windows, sheds and garages are locked securely and spare keys aren’t on display or near to your front door.
  • If you can, leave lights and the TV or radio on if you’re out and about over Christmas so burglars think you’re home.
  • Be neighbourly – keeping an eye out for suspicious behaviour and alerting the police if necessary is the right thing to do, and could mean you prevent a miserable Christmas or New Year for your neighbour.


1Aviva claims data 2016 and 2017

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John Franklin
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Notes to editors:


  • Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.
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