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Trouble bubbling: Claims involving hot tubs tripled last year says insurer

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Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·4-min read
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Home insurance claims involving hot tubs nearly tripled last year as people spent more time in their homes and gardens during coronavirus lockdowns.

The figures were released by insurance giant Aviva, which analysed its own claims data and found a 188% year-on-year increase in accidental damage claims for hot tubs in 2020.

Claims it accepted included a grass strimmer bursting an inflatable tub, birds pecking holes in a spa cover and an engagement ring ripping a tub lining.

An engagement ring
Aviva is advising people to be careful with jewellery in hot tubs (Geoff Kirby/PA)

Falling parasols have also caused hot tub trouble, as have people tripping over them.

Aviva added that accidental damage claims for items dropped in or knocked off the side of hot tubs in the UK have also increased in recent years, with mobile phones topping the list of items taking the plunge and hearing aids, watches and tablets also being toppled.

The insurance giant said it also received a small number of claims for stolen hot tubs. In many of these cases, deflated spas were stolen from garages and outbuildings, although some brazen thieves took hot tubs directly from customers’ gardens.

Kelly Whittington, property claims director for Aviva said: “Many people bought hot tubs in 2020, while others took their spas out of storage, so they could enjoy holidays at home. Unfortunately this appears to have led to all manner of mishaps, both with the hot tubs themselves and items dropped in them.

“Many residents will be staying in the UK again this year, so hot tubs and garden accessories are likely to be very popular again. While it’s great that people are enjoying themselves at home, we’d encourage them to take care when using and storing their hot tubs, as well as being cautious with anything used around them. As our data reveals, a short lapse of concentration can easily lead to an unfortunate incident.

“Now is also a good opportunity for people to review their home insurance, to make sure it meets their needs. Accidental damage cover is an optional add-on with many policies and can provide peace of mind against those moments of misfortune.”

Here are Aviva’s tips to help households avoid hot tub trouble:

– Think about where you position your hot tub. Customers have reported accidents where tubs have been damaged by glass panes from greenhouses, falling parasols, and even people tripping over them.

– Be careful with jewellery and watches. Not only can the items themselves be damaged by the water, customers have reported ripping the lining of hot tubs with their jewellery.

– Review your cover. Accidental damage insurance provides peace of mind for unexpected accidents and can cover incidents such as a burst hot tub or a phone which has taken a dip. This is often an optional add-on to home insurance and cover levels can vary, so check with your provider.

– Keep phones away from the water. Tempting as it can be to scroll and take poolside selfies, phones account for the vast majority of accidental damage claims for items dropped in hot tubs.

– Take care with tools. Aviva has received claims for hot tubs damaged by spades, strimmers and screwdrivers.

Garden spades
Aviva has received claims for hot tubs damaged by spades in the past (Chris Ison/PA)

– Put away your hot tub if it is not going to be used for a while and keep it safe and secure. In spite of their bulk, hot tubs are sometimes stolen.

– Be careful where you store your hot tub. Look out for any nails or sharp edges which could catch inflatable parts, covers or linings. Also be mindful that home insurance policies often have exclusions for damage caused by vermin.

– Be mindful of any policy limits for items kept in gardens or stored in garages and outbuildings. The limit is usually lower than belongings kept in the main home, so if you have an expensive hot tub, check your home insurance policy to make sure the cover meets your needs. Insurance is designed for unexpected events, so issues due to wear and tear or mechanical failure would not tend to be covered.

– Be careful with lids and accessories. These can cost several hundreds of pounds to be replaced.