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SAFETY FIRST: Insurer issues warning as garden fire claims soared last year

Barbecue Grill With Fire On Open Air

Admiral Insurance data reveals 2022 saw the number of garden fire related claims almost triple compared to 2019

  • Last year’s heatwave resulted in 178% more claims than in 2019 and more than 2020 and 2021 combined
  • Insurer’s data shows May, June and July typically see the highest number of claims related to garden fires
  • Year on year, these months saw claims increase by almost 500% in 2022
  • Newcastle area saw the highest number of garden-related fires in the UK based on four years of data

As the weather warms up and the first Spring bank holiday approaches, Admiral Home Insurance is urging Brits to take extra care with BBQs, firepits and bonfires as its own data reveals claims for damage caused by garden fires has increased by 178% since 2019. The warm, dry summer of 2022 resulted in a surge of claims, with Admiral recording more last year than in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Admiral’s claims data from the last four years shows May, June and July are the worst months for garden fire related claims, as Brits head outdoors to take advantage of better weather and longer evenings. In fact, last year saw the number of claims in these months increase by a staggering 496% compared to the previous year.

Despite the cool, wet start to the year, the insurer has already registered more garden fire related claims in the first three months of 2023 than the same period in any of the previous four years. It is warning people planning to use barbecues, firepits and pizza ovens to make sure they’re following safety advice, and to never leave fires unattended.

Admiral is also warning people to use caution when using bioethanol weed burners after seeing a number of claims for significant damage in recent years, including an incident where someone accidentally set fire to their shed and fence, and damaged a neighbour’s car. Another case saw an oil tank explode after a fire from a weed burner spread, causing a significant amount of damage to a neighbouring property.

When it comes to where in the UK has seen the highest number of garden fire claims over the last four years, the Newcastle postcode areas tops the list, followed by Birmingham and Cardiff.

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.

“Our data shows May, June and July are the worst months for garden fires, and last year we saw the number of claims increase during this time by almost 500% compared to 2021. With an extra May bank holiday this year, we’re urging people to make sure they’re taking extra care if they are planning a barbecue or fire in their garden.

“We’ve also seen an increasing number of claims related to the use of bioethanol weed burners, with some fires getting out of control and causing a significant amount of damage, so budding gardeners should be particularly careful too.

“Our data highlights that accidents can and do happen, so if you’re going to be using things like firepits, BBQs or bonfires, perhaps while entertaining over the bank holiday weekend, take a look at our guide to garden fire and barbecue safety so you can prevent your garden fire going up in smoke.”

Here are Admiral’s top tips to stay safe if you are planning a bonfire or BBQ in your garden:


  • Make sure your bonfire is placed away from buildings, bushes and fences
  • Never pour flammable liquid onto a bonfire
  • Never burn aerosol cans, batteries, paint tins or furniture containing foam
  • Never leave a fire unattended and pour plenty of water on it when you’ve finished

BBQs and firepits

  • Make sure your BBQ works and is on a flat surface away from any shed, trees and bushes
  • Never leave your BBQ or fire pit unattended
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
  • Keep children and pets away from the area
  • Only move BBQs once cool