Burning Christmas tree: which insurance pays?

Heated arguments under the Christmas tree are probably not uncommon on Christmas Eve. Even worse is when the whole Christmas tree is on fire. The good news: In most cases, the insurance company pays for the fire damage.

Household goods and building insurance in the event of a Christmas tree fire

When the Christmas tree is on fire, it rarely remains without consequential damage. Household insurance is responsible for damaged inventory. This includes, for example, furniture, clothing and gifts under the tree. Even cash and jewelry are usually covered up to a certain amount.

Damage to the building fabric – i.e. the building itself and everything that is firmly connected to it, for example satellite dishes – will not be of the Household insurance replaced. This is where home insurance comes into play, which every home owner should have.

Tip: The insurance companies don’t come only for the damage caused by the fire itself. If damage occurs as a result of the extinguishing work, this is also covered. So do not have false inhibitions when using fire extinguishers and Co.! Important: Report the damage to your insurance company immediately; do not wait until after the holidays.

Burning Christmas tree due to negligence

Real candles should never burn unobserved – neither on the Christmas tree nor on the advent wreath or anywhere else. Many fires could be prevented with the appropriate attention. Therefore, the insurance company may reduce or even completely refuse to pay you if you are responsible for the burning Christmas tree yourself.

A distinction is made between negligence and gross negligence. If the behavior is only slightly negligent, the insurance will step in. These include, for example, the corridor to Toilet or opening the front door while the candles are burning on the Christmas tree.

However, grossly negligent behavior can, according to Section 81 of the Insurance Contract Act (VVG), result in the insurance reducing benefits to zero – depending on the severity of your own fault. The following were classified as grossly negligent causes for a Christmas tree fire:

  • A six-year-old child should supervise burning candles while the insured took a bath.
  • The insured person visited his neighbor for 15 minutes and did not delete the candles on the advent wreath beforehand.
  • Advent arrangement was not supervised during dinner and burned down.

Tip: Some insurance policies contain the addition "No objection to gross negligence". This costs a little more, but saves you from having to discuss whether your behavior was grossly negligent in the event of damage and thus guarantees that the costs will be borne if the Christmas tree burns.


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