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£1.4 billion - the true cost of looking good

17th December 2010 Print

Stains and burns from beauty products and equipment have cost homeowners more than £1.4 billion in the past 12 months - and will soar by a further £115 million this December as people get ready for Christmas parties, according to findings from Halifax Home Insurance.

Stains caused by make up (17 per cent), fake tan/hair dye (11 per cent) and nail varnish (8 per cent) are among the most frequent mishaps, while burn marks caused by hair straighteners are also common (5 per cent). Even putting evening shoes on can be costly, with £330 million in damage caused to homes this year alone through stiletto heels wrecking floors (5 per cent).

These accidents are often the result of drinking alcohol in the home with friends during pre-night out parties - which more than a quarter of people now do regularly (28 per cent). 

In fact today more than a third of adults say they drink at home before going out in order to save money (39 per cent), while a similar number forsake going out altogether in favour of ‘sofa-lising' on Saturday nights instead (34 per cent).

Popular TV shows such as X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing has made ‘sofa-lising' (where friends and family get together for home based social gatherings) particularly popular.

But with accidents such as wine spillages on carpet (18 per cent) and drinks spilt on electricals (9 per cent) a common occurrence at these socials, the insurer is urging people to be careful when having friends over - estimating the total bill for these home socials was £820 million in the past year.

It's primarily the younger generations that cause more home damage, with young women in their early 20s particularly accident prone - unwittingly inflicting damage more frequently than vandals, children or even burglars. And females also appear the least independent when it comes to rectifying the damage, according to research, with a third relying on their parents to foot the bill (30 per cent). A further 16 per cent just leave the damage as it is.

Regionally, it is residents of East Anglia who are the most likely to have a beauty-product related accident (52 per cent), closely followed by people from Scotland, London and the North West (44 per cent). In contrast homeowners from the East Midlands (31 per cent) and Yorkshire (33 per cent) are the least clumsy.  Yet despite the frequency of these accidents, more than a quarter of people don't have home contents insurance (27 per cent), and of those who do, 30 per cent don't know if they are covered for accidental damage.

Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance comments: "The rise in popularity of ‘sofa-lising' and drinking at home before going out has significantly increased the likelihood of home accidents, so while many will stay home to try and save money, it may prove to be a false economy if careless behaviour ends up costing them more."

Halifax Home Insurance recommends homeowners check their home insurance policy to ensure they are fully covered against accidental damage.  Accidental damage to some parts of the home such as sinks, baths and ceramic hobs is included in most home insurance policies, but it is worth considering additional accidental damage cover to protect against common household mishaps such as carpet spillages and damaged furniture.

Top tips to avoid being a 'home wrecker'

Killer heels - Avoid walking around the house with damaging stiletto heels on as you can leave marks on hard floors. Put them on just before leaving

Watch your drink  - Keep wine stored away from where it can be easily knocked over, and if you are having a party, put away your best glasses and use plastic instead to avoid breakages

Play it straight - Keep hair straighteners away from carpet and sofas. Many come with a heat proof mat to store them on, but if not keep them on a heat resistant surface and ensure they're unplugged when not in use

Hair to dye for - Get a friend to help you when dying hair, and ensure you keep dye away from furniture and carpets, otherwise it's likely you'll end up with more than just coloured hair!

Cover up -  Cover carpets and soft furnishings with a towel when applying fake tan, nail varnish, make up and anything else that's likely to stain.