Rise in insurance claims over 4-day weekend

And with children off school and many families holding royal-themed house parties, unsurprisingly accidental damage claims in the home went up by 10% over the same breaks.

Among the claims during the previous two four-day bank holiday weekends were:

* A homeowner was hosting a party and left the barbecue unattended for an hour – they then suddenly noticed the conservatory was covered in smoke and the fence, shed, two bikes, garden table, two chairs and two sun loungers were on fire;
* A customer was watching the Royal Wedding and relaxing, smoking a pipe, when he knocked it over and the contents burnt his £1700 sofa;
* A homeowner was visiting friends when he received a phone call telling them to return home as a neighbour’s bonfire had set fire to the fence, two bushes and a tree in the garden.

Ian Coull, household claims manager at Aviva, said: "We were intrigued to see the increase in the fire claims over the Royal Wedding and Golden Jubilee weekends and when we delved a bit deeper, we found there was a strong culinary theme with cooking and barbecues being the main causes.

"Bank holidays also often lead to increased accidental damage claims mainly because families are at home more, probably enjoying time with lots of family and friends or catching up on DIY, both of which can lead to clumsy calamities."

The insurer is also expecting more claims for broken glass and windows as Britain braces itself for a summer sporting bonanza. Claims rise by around 20% during the summer months with stray tennis, cricket and footballs often the culprit!

Coull said: "Whenever there is a major sporting event, we always see additional claims for mishaps with broken windows whether it’s down to Murray Mania or budding Broads and Beckhams!

"With a particularly bumper sporting calendar this summer we’d encourage homeowners to embrace all the great events which 2012 has to offer, but maybe just keep the ball games away from the conservatory or patio doors!"

On the flip side, statistics show that car claims actually dropped over the previous four-day bank holiday weekends – by around 20% – probably because most people were at home playing or barbecuing in the garden!

Top tips for an accident-free and fun bank holiday weekend:

* Position your barbecue a safe distance from the house or any building;
* Never use a barbecue in a garage, carport, porch, under an awning or overhang that could catch fire;
* Never use petrol or kerosene to light a charcoal barbecue;
* Make sure you have a fire extinguisher to hand in case things get out of control;
* Ask children to play their ball games away the house, conservatory or greenhouses;
* Consider substituting the usual ball for a softer version such as a foam or a home made one;
* Invest in some cheap throws and wax tablecloths to put over furniture, so if something does get spilt it’s less likely to damage valuable furnishings;
* Keep valuable possessions out of reach from children (or even adults!) especially if you have lots of friends around.

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