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Urgent warning over hidden risks of everyday garden features that could land you with huge bill

Jun 13, 2023

HOUSEHOLDS are being warned about huge hidden costs everyday garden features could rack up this summer.

A heatwave might be on the cards, which poses a possible fire risk to outdoor furniture.

Last year saw a huge 28% increase in garden fires from increased temperatures, according to furniture experts at GB Foam.

In fact, there were as many as 185,437 incidents reported in 2022 according to government data.

You'll need to take extra care with BBQs and fire pits as it is, but damage to wooden chairs and tables caused by the heat could hike up your bills if you don't have insurance cover.

The price of getting damaged furniture replaced depends on what exactly the product is.

But experts at Admiral say the average insurance claim could cost from tens to thousands of pounds, depending on the severity.

Without the right cover it could mean having to fork this out yourself.

However, keep in mind there's likely to be an upper limit to the amount you can claim for, and you should check your policy documents for more information on this.

Noel Summerfield, head of household at Admiral, said: "Over the last four years, we’ve seen the number of claims for damage caused by garden fires soar after items like barbeques, firepits and bonfires became increasingly popular during pandemic lockdowns.

"We thought the numbers might fall in 2022 as people spent less time at home, but in fact the opposite happened.

"The long, hot summer meant we saw almost three times as many claims as pre-pandemic 2019, and more than the total numbers for 2020 and 2021 combined."

There are plenty of checks you can do to make sure your furniture stays safe.

First of all, look at the label before you buy it. Any fire safety labels that indicate legal compliance with UK standards should be safe, but it's best to check with the furniture supplier if you're not sure.

Secondly, take any glass tops off tables if the temperature is particularly high. These could intensify the heat and cause burning or melting.

And don't forget about garden mirrors - it's best to take them inside if it's a really hot day.

You'll want to keep any other furniture items away from BBQs and fire pits as well to make sure they don't catch fire. And have a fire extinguisher to hand in case of an emergency.

Remember not to have any cigarette lighters or smoke near wooden furniture and don't drop them on the grass once you've finished.

It's important to keep the vegetation trimmed regularly to minimise a fire risk and always collect any rubbish on the ground which could lead to a fire.

A spokesperson for GB Foam said: "Overall, the UK maintains a high standard when it comes to furniture, but unfortunately, some lesser quality pieces can still slip through.

"In addition, many people also choose to make their own furniture by recycling wooden pallets, which can be a cost-effective way to furnish your garden but may pose unexpected fire risks.

"Proper safety practices, combined with sourcing the right furniture materials can help to mitigate these risks."

Don't forget your mobile phone could be a fire risk if you leave it outside.

If you place it in direct sunlight for a long period of time it's likely to burn up, and this could be harmful especially if it's on a wooden surface or on grass.

Make sure to keep an eye on it if it's connected to an outdoor plug socket too - this could be dangerous to leave unattended.

If you're after an outdoor extension lead, it's best to look for one which has a waterproof cover in case you have a hot tub, paddling pool or hose nearby.

You can buy one of these from Wilko for just £16 - just don't forget about extra delivery costs though if you're ordering home.