Flame on, claim off: Our top BBQ safety tips

Home insurance

Ah, the sweet scent of barbecue is in the air! Since Covid, BBQs are more popular than ever. You’d think otherwise with the typical British weather we tend to get, but statistics show that in 2023, the UK held over 65 million BBQs.

Like many, you might feel like a master of the BBQ, grill, barbie – whatever you like to call it – even masters face risks. From unexpected fires to sharp edges causing cuts, the dangers are real.

When the sun comes out and you rush to the shop to stock up on burgers, the last thing on your mind will be insurance. But it’s definitely not something you should ignore.

Most Home Insurance policies do cover fire damage and other accidents caused by a BBQ, and liability can also help keep peace of mind for any legal liability for people that come to visit too. We definitely recommend checking your cover though, as there can be catches that you need to be aware of.

A key catch is most insurers won’t cover you if you’re under the influence of alcohol. This means if an incident at your BBQ leads to a fire or injury and it’s found that alcohol impairment played a role, your insurer could deny the claim based on this exclusion.

For those with a holiday home, there are some regulatory requirements you must comply with, such as fire alarm systems and other fire protection.

A man by a BBQ with family in the background.

Here are some of our top tips for staying safe and prevent making a claim ahead of your next BBQ with friends and family:

1. Don’t use petrol or accelerants

We recommend not using petrol, methanol or any other accelerants on your BBQ. These substances can cause serious and even life-threatening incidents due to sudden and intense fires, putting all of yourself, your guests and your home in danger.

2. Be careful with gas BBQs

You can face somewhat increased risks with gas BBQs. Always use the correct type of fuel and diligently check the grill for gas leaks and proper ignition functionality to prevent hazardous accidents.

3. A safe and secure setup

Position your BBQ on a level surface to avoid tipping, and never leave it unattended – especially when children or pets are around. This prevents accidents before they can happen. Always use your BBQ outdoors in well-ventilated areas.

Only use your BBQ in outside areas, as using a BBQ indoors or under shelter increases the risk of fire and can lead to dangerous accumulations of carbon monoxide. Ensure that your BBQ is set up away from trees, shrubs and general objects that could catch fire too.

4. Handling charcoal safely

After grilling with charcoal or eco-friendly charcoal alternatives, allow them to cool completely before moving or disposing of them to avoid burns and potential fire hazards.

5. Choice of tools and clothing

Use BBQ tools with long handles and insulative materials like wood to prevent burns. Wear suitable clothing such as short sleeves or tightly rolled up long sleeves to avoid fabric catching fire.

6. Be prepared for emergencies

Take necessary precautions which can provide immediate response options in case of a fire. This could mean keeping a bucket of water or sand close by for extinguishing charcoal fires, or having a fire blanket at hand for gas BBQs.

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