As clocks fall back, claims spring forward

Article date: 23 October 2007

What a difference an hour makes. That's the conclusion in a report out today that finds a wide variety of household and motor claims soar in the week following the end of British Summer Time.

The claims analysis by Norwich Union, the UK's largest insurer, finds that motor accidents, malicious damage, theft and fire all spike in the week after the clocks roll back. Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night also feature as key dates that could well scare homeowners and motorists. 

The key dates that are more "trick" than "treat" include:

Clocks go back, Sunday 28 October 2007

  • The number of motor collision claims following the clocks going back rises by around 15% as commuters struggle to adapt their usual driving habits and route to the darker times of day.

Halloween, Wednesday 31 October 2007

  • This is the worst day of the year for malicious damage in homes, when claims increase by a whopping 150% compared with a normal day
  • It's also the third worst day for malicious damage on cars, for which Norwich Union receives over double the amount of claims compared with a normal day.

Bonfire night, Monday 5 November 2007

  • Household fire claims increase by about 50% and claims for malicious damage to the home increase nearly twofold
  • This is also the worst day of the year for malicious damage to cars, when claims increase by around 1.4 times compared with a normal day
  • This is the worst day of the year for home theft, when claims increase by a quarter.

Simon Warsop, head of statistics at Norwich Union, said, "This weekend heralds the onset of long winter nights. But that doesn't mean you need to be caught out in the cold. Extra caution behind the wheel and some common sense tips for home security and safety will help ensure you enjoy everything the season has to offer. 

"Though trick-or-treating and Bonfire Night are usually fun-filled activities, our claims analysis shows that many of the claims we receive around this time are easily preventable, such as having your bonfire too close to your shed or home or leaving your house in darkness while you're away. So we're urging people to take some simple, straight-forward precautions before they head out to enjoy the seasonal festivities.

"Motorists, too, need to adapt their driving behavior to driving in the dark. For many of them, this will be the first time driving home from work in darkness for some time, and extra caution and awareness is required."

Norwich Union has developed a series of top tips to avoid making claims at this time of the year:

When the clocks go back...

  • Drive carefully and allow extra time, even on routine roads, when the clocks go back as well as straight afterwards - different times of day mean different types of daylight to what you're used to and driving needs to be adapted accordingly.

During Halloween and Bonfire Night...

  • If you're purchasing fireworks, make sure you buy them from a reputable manufacturer and read the instructions on how to use them
  • If the alcohol is flowing, the person in charge of the rockets should save the cocktails for later
  • Make sure there is a safe distance between people, homes and where fireworks are set off. Likewise, bonfires need to be set well away from property and people
  • Put the car in the garage or tucked out of the way for the night
  • Move any potted plants, ornaments or bikes from the front or side of your house, so that they are out of sight
  • Malicious damage is covered as standard in most home insurance policies, but it's worth checking you have adequate buildings and content cover
  • Leave the lights on if you leave the house in the evening and ensure all doors and windows are securely locked
  • Ensure sheds, garages and gates have robust locks
  • Avoid leaving the keys in the lock inside when double locking - this will prevent burglars using the hook and cane method through your letterbox
  • Consider installing a burglar alarm either by an approved contractor or failing that by purchasing a system from one of the DIY chains. "Dummy Covers" are a deterrent but if you can afford it a real one is better. (It may also get you a discount on your home insurance!)
  • Fit a motion sensor light which will work at any time whether you are in or out of the house.

-ends-

For more information please contact:
Emilie Lien
Lexis PR
Telephone: 020 7908 6421
E-mail: elien@lexispr.com

Rebecca Holmes
Norwich Union press office
Telephone: 01603 354 346
E-mail: Rebecca.l.holmes@norwich-union.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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