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At no other time of the year are there as many fires in Swiss homes as in December, and the days over Christmas are particularly bad. But the seemingly obvious culprits – Christmas tree candles – are rarely to blame.

In December, there are around 40 percent more fires in rooms and apartments in Switzerland than at any other time of the year. This is borne out by statistics collected by AXA over the last few years. The days over Christmas itself are particularly bad, with AXA receiving twice as many fire damage claims on those days than on normal days.

Christmas trees rarely to blame

Unattended candles are often the cause of such fires. But, in the majority of cases, candles on the Christmas tree are not responsible: Candles on Advent wreaths, or even just candles on their own, are much more likely to start fires. “These days, everybody knows you have to be careful with candles on a Christmas tree. Less well known is that other candles have to be supervised at all times, too. Before leaving a room, you have to put out all the candles,” says Stefan Müller, Head of Property Insurance Claims at AXA. Following this rule could help to prevent many fires.

“Before leaving a room, you have to put out all the candles”

Stefan Müller, Head of Property Insurance Claims at AXA

High claims amounts in the event of fire

Fire damage is one of the most expensive claims there is. The average claims amount for a fire caused by candles is around CHF 10,000. It’s not rare for much higher costs to be involved, however, if homes are left uninhabitable for long periods or – in the worst cases – people are injured.

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