Riskmas time, festive fires and crime

Article date: 11 December 2013

  • Christmas Day is the worst day of the year for fire damage and New Year’s Eve sees burglaries rise

Festive candles, fairy lights and flambéed Christmas pud are essential parts of the Christmas tradition, but they all contribute to what is the worst day of the year for fire claims.

According to 10 years* worth of Aviva claims data Christmas Day sees an increase in fire claims of 120% compared with an average day as kitchens go into overdrive to prepare the festive feast.

And the data also shows that thefts jump by 8% on New Year’s Eve as revellers party the night away, leaving their homes unoccupied. But the New Year burglary peak has fallen by 10% from 18% more thefts than average in 2010, perhaps as more people prefer to party at home.

Expensive presents are still a magnet to festive thieves though - claims data shows that last year Macbook Pro’s, Toshiba laptops and iPhones were the most stolen items and it predicts that they are set to be the among the most sought after presents once again this year.**

Richard Hiscocks, head of household claims at Aviva, said:  “Fire and theft can easily turn the season of joy into a miserable Christmas and an unhappy New Year. Overworked kitchens, festive candles and plenty of fairy lights all increase the risk of fire. And expensive presents are a magnet for would-be Grinches on the prowl.

“But while New Year’s Eve is still one of the worst times of year for burglaries, our figures show that crime on that day does appear to have dropped over the years, perhaps due to more people wanting to save their cash after Christmas and celebrate at home, or a sign that many homeowners are now heeding warnings to ensure their property is secure when they go out.

“It is still true though that simple precautions like keeping your presents out of sight from passing thieves, turning off fairy lights and putting out candles, can all reduce these festive hazards.”

Meanwhile on the roads the week leading up to Christmas sees a 20% increase in car accident claims compared to the average day, probably because people are rushing around buying presents on dark wintry roads. But between Christmas and New Year “all is calm, all is bright” - the five safest days of the year for motor theft are from Christmas to the 29th of December – even car thieves take Christmas off!

The festive period also brings other claim trends:

  • Christmas Day sees the lowest number of theft claims – 80% lower than an average day.
  • The last day of the year is also one of the worst for accidental damage claims in the home. A 25% increase is down to spills on carpets, cigarette burns and damage to mobile phones and cameras at parties.
  • New Year’s Eve also sees a 50% increase in fire claims.

To protect its customers at Christmas time, Aviva automatically increases contents cover by an extra £3,000 over the festive period, with burglary already covered as standard under Aviva’s home insurance.

Aviva’s tips to a safe and happy Christmas:

  • 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 
  • Don’t make your home look like a shop window for burglars by leaving presents under the tree – try to keep them out of sight until the big day
  • Ensure all gift packaging is as unidentifiable as possible when you throw it out. It’s easy to just dump new TV or iPod 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

*Aviva claims data from 2003 to 2012
**Aviva claims data 2012                                                                                              

Top 10 items stolen: Christmas 2012

Predicted wish list: Christmas 2013

Apple MacBook Pro 13"

Apple MacBook Pro 13"

Toshiba Laptop

Toshiba Laptop

Apple iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 5C/S

Samsung Laptop

Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2

Samsung Laptop

LG 42” Television

Apple iPod Touch

Apple iPod Touch

Google Nexus Tablet

Apple MacBook Pro 15"

LG/Samsung 42"

Apple iPod Classic

Nintendo 3DS

Apple iPad



If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva Press Office:  John Franklin               01603 680795     john.s.franklin@aviva.co.uk

The Wriglesworth Consultancy:  Hugh Murphy/Ludo Baynham-Herd     020 7427 1400 avivagi@wriglesworth.com

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 34 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2012 we invested £5.7m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 30,000 hours.

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life, especially education. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school.

The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes company information and a news release archive.

For an interactive introduction to what we do and how we do it, please click here http://www.aviva.com/library/reports/this-is-aviva-2013/

For broadcast-standard video, please visit http://www.aviva.com/media/video/.

Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc

Back to top