NEW YORK, May 12, 2021 : May is National Electrical Safety Month but are Americans doing enough to protect themselves and their homes against electrical fires? Although 28% of Americans have experienced an electrical fire, most confess that they aren’t following basic precautions that would lower their risk of another fire, according to a new ValuePenguin.com survey of more than 1,200 respondents. In fact, 57% of Americans confessed to leaving heat-producing appliances plugged or turned on when they’re not in use, inadvertently increasing their risk of electrical fires.
28% of Americans have experienced an electrical fire. Of that group, 20% say the fire occurred in their home, while 9% say the fire happened in a neighbor’s home in a shared building.
Fire drills and fire extinguishers are critical in protecting families should electrical fires occur, but consumers miss the mark here. 60% of Americans have never done a fire drill in their current home, and 1 in 4 say they don’t have a fire extinguisher.
The majority of Americans aren’t following expert guidelines for preventing electrical fires. 66% of Americans did not test their smoke detectors last month, 57% leave heat-producing appliances plugged in when they’re not in use, and 42% haven’t cleaned their dryer’s lint filter in more than a week. A further 22% report their fuses blowing or breakers tripping monthly- an indication of an overloaded electrical system.
Renters and those living in multi-unit buildings need more education about electrical safety. Renters tend to be less confident in their ability to protect themselves and their homes from an electrical fire than homeowners and those living in single-family homes, and the data shows the reason behind their lack of confidence. Over half of American renters don’t know for sure where their extinguisher is located or don’t have one, compared with 32% of homeowners.
Women are more than twice as likely as men to say they’re not at all confident in their ability to protect themselves from an electrical fire. 13% of women cite this lack of confidence versus just 6% of men. Overall, 1 in 10 Americans confessed that they are not at all confident in their ability to protect themselves against an electric fire.
Millions of Americans may not have enough insurance coverage to recover after a fire. Approximately 50% of Americans aren’t sure if they have enough home or renters insurance to cover a fire. Renters are much less confident than owners that they have enough insurance to cover a fire — 33% of renters say they definitely have enough coverage versus 64% of owners. Most worryingly, 10% of Americans don’t have any home or renters insurance coverage.
According to Andrew Hurst, Insurance Data analyst at ValuePenguin.com, “The one thing that consumers need to know is that insurance coverage for electrical fires can be complicated. Fires that are caused by faulty repair or poor maintenance are generally not covered under most policies. Your coverage may also be complicated if you have a high-risk home in a fire-prone location where insurers have limited their liabilities due to recurring losses.” He adds, “If you haven’t already, please contact your insurance company to clarify the level of protection they offer before a fire breaks out — especially if you are are among the 18% of Americans who say they don’t know what home insurance covers.”
ValuePenguin commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,213 U.S. consumers from April 14-21, 2021. The survey was administered using a non-probability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.
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