The rising smoke, the smells of sizzling meats, the calls of hungry guests – there's nothing that says summer quite like a BBQ. What was once a simple pastime has now become something much bigger.
Although cooking with charcoal is still the most common method, many modern BBQs are high-tech machines that use gas to cook and can cost a packet. Before investing in a BBQ, be aware that they're not always covered by your home insurance.
There's also the risk of causing fire damage to your home if you don't pay attention. Every year, Brits cause millions of pounds' worth of damage due to barbecuing while drinking alcohol. So before getting the fire going, it's best to make sure that your policy covers every incident.
Insurance for your BBQ
The cover for the type you have depends on your policy. Brick built or ground secured BBQs are considered part of the home and will be covered by your buildings insurance.
A portable BBQ is usually covered under the 'contents in the open' clause of your contents insurance. Check your policy document or ask the insurance provider whether you have to pay an extra premium. If it's stolen, the BBQ will usually be considered as an item in your home.
You'll have to prove that it was securely locked away, so ask your insurer if they have any minimum security requirements. It's also important to check the excess you're liable for in a claim: new-for-old cover, with no depreciation applied to its value, may not pay the full cost of replacing even an expensive BBQ.
Most home insurance policies do cover fire damage to your building and contents from a BBQ. You'll also be covered for any legal liability in case your BBQ causes harm to someone or damages property that isn't yours. But it's worth noting that if there's evidence you were drunk at the time of the accident, your insurer could refuse to pay out.
BBQ safety tips
- Keep the BBQ away from things that could catch fire. This includes bushes and trees, as well as structures such as gazebos, tents, fences and sheds.
- The BBQ should be placed at least 10m away from any buildings.
- Never barbecue indoors – even if it's raining cats and dogs. Though you can buy a specialist indoor BBQ.
- Don't drink too much if you're in charge of grilling – alcohol related BBQ accidents can cause serious damage.
- Have a water source near a charcoal BBQ, whether a hose, bucket or bottle, just in case. Do not use water to extinguish a gas appliance.
- When grilling, be sure to use tools such as tongs to cook with. This keeps arms, clothing and aprons away from the fire.
- Don't use flammable liquids such as lighter fluid or petrol to get your BBQ fire going.
- Let charcoal cool completely after use, and put it in a non-flammable place. Charcoal disposed in a wheelie bin can lead to serious fires.
- If using a disposable BBQ, make sure it's on a non-flammable surface.
Storage – looking after your BBQ
- When not in use, keep your BBQ out of sight and stored securely, especially if it's an expensive model.
- Before storing inside, make sure it's completely cool to avoid any risk of fire.
- If you have a gas BBQ, store the gas cylinders upright to prevent any leaks.
- When you next use it, check if any parts need fixing or replacing to avoid any risks.
- If you have a broken BBQ or it doesn't work properly, check the warranty, as repairs should be covered.
Portable BBQ models are covered under our home insurance, which can include accidental loss or damage. Higher levels of cover for more expensive BBQ models are also available.