Did you know that bonfire night stems back to King James I? Following Guy Fawkes’ effort to blow up the Parliament building, the country was permitted to light bonfires to commemorate the King’s survival — albeit without danger or disorder.
As November 5th approaches and most of us look forward to enjoying bonfires and fireworks, we must all be mindful of neighbours with nervous animals or children. Have you ever considered whether these types of social gatherings are covered by insurance should all that fire get a bit out of hand? It’s worth considering, whether you’re throwing a party of your own or attending a neighbours, family member’s or friend’.
Will my insurance cover a Bonfire Night party?
What are the most common kinds of claims after Bonfire Night?
You won’t be surprised to hear that Bonfire Night sees an increase in claims on home insurance policies.
Damage to the immediate area usually includes roof tiles, windows, fences and garden furniture. In extreme cases, fire may spread to buildings or outbuildings. Most household insurance policies will provide cover if a fireworks display damages some part of your house or garden.
If damage is caused to a neighbouring property, which isn’t unusual, it is possible that whilst their home insurance policy may provide cover, their insurer could recover any payments made against your own insurer, if they are able to prove any negligence.
It is worth taking extra care to make sure you have equipment to hand should the worst happen, but you shouldn’t delay calling the fire brigade and you should never put yourself in danger when tackling a fire.
Some properties, such those of wooden construction or those with a thatched roof are more at risk and may have additional requirements on their insurance policies. Remember, if you are outside enjoying the fireworks, make sure your home is secure. Empty houses and lots of loud noises make a perfect opportunity for burglars!
If you’re unsure what sort of cover you have, check with your broker. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Another key area to consider is the case of party guests sustaining an injury. Most policies that cover home contents will usually have cover for personal liability. You should warn your guests of any possible dangers and ensure they follow instructions for their own safety. Consider them your responsibility, and make sure they know what to do in an emergency.
Some organisers charge for their Bonfire Night parties, mostly for fund-raising purposes, and if that is the case it is important to understand that your household policy may not provide cover and specialist event insurance may be required. It’s all in the details, so if in doubt, always ask your broker.
It’s a well known fact that animals can find fireworks extremely distressing, and they can cause
damage to the home if they are trying to escape or find shelter. The majority of policies will exclude
damage caused by scratching, chewing or fouling of domestic pets. Most animal charities will have
some guidance on how to make the evening less distressing for pets.
Here are some safety tips for your records should you be organising a bonfire and fireworks:
- Always follow the firework code.
- Read the fireworks’ instructions carefully.
- Only use fireworks marked CE.
- Never start a bonfire using petrol or another accelerant.
- Build a bonfire away from anything which could catch fire, such as a shed or hedge.
- Don’t throw spent fireworks on to the bonfire, as they may still have some unexpected
explosive life left in them.