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Aviva issues warning as battery chargers lead to fires

Christian Fernsby |
Aviva is warning customers to take care when charging electrical items, after receiving dozens of home fire claims caused by chargers and batteries in 2021.

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According to the insurer, multiple home fire claims this year have been linked to faulty, damaged or incorrect chargers, or items which were left to charge for too long. Aviva found a common cause of components over heating, leading to fires in the home.

The insurer notes that in many cases, damage was exacerbated because customers had put items to charge and then left their homes, enabling fires to take hold.

Sarah Applegate, Data Analytics Lead for Aviva General Insurance says: “This appears to be a growing problem as the number of battery powered items increases. We would strongly urge people not to leave their electrical devices unattended while being charged or leave items charging when batteries are full.

“As we see more cordless devices around the home and garden, it’s becoming even more important for householders to remain aware of fire safety when charging batteries.”

Sarah Applegate adds: “The number of claims caused by chargers is actually relatively small in relation to fire claims overall. We tend to see more fire claims as a result of candles and garden fires, for example. However, because people don’t tend to think of chargers as a fire hazard, they often leave them unattended, which means the damage can be worse and more disruptive for customers.”

Aviva offers the following tips for using batteries and chargers:

Always use genuine chargers which are designed specifically for your devices. Don’t be tempted by cheaper “bargains”. Counterfeit chargers may not meet UK regulations and can cause batteries to overheat.

Replace your charger if it becomes faulty or if wires are exposed.

Don’t leave batteries charging when you go out. A fire can take hold very quickly and the damage is likely to be much worse if it is not spotted and attended to immediately.

Stop charging your device as soon as the battery is full. Similarly, don’t leave items charging overnight.

Put your device on a non flammable surface when charging. Avoid highly flammable materials such as clothes, bedding, cushions or paper and don’t cover devices while they are charging.

Do not overload electrical sockets.

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