Beware the terrors lurking in your home. You may think that when you lock the door behind you, you're keeping the threats out, but new figures have revealed that there's a good chance that you're actually locking in a major threat to your home and property: your children.
Each child, they say, causes an average of £5,000 damage to their parents' home in their childhoods.
The research, from MoreTh>n, calculated that the danger age is three-years-old, when a typical child will do £526 of damage.
The most common forms of destruction are:
1. Spilling food and drink on the carpets (63%)
2. Smashing plates and crockery (35%)
3. Drawing and painting on the walls (33%)
4. Breaking vases, pictures and photo frames (24%)
5. Tearing wallpaper from the walls (22%)
6. Jumping on beds until they break (15%)
7. Breaking windows playing sports in the garden (10%)
8. Damaging the TV playing computer games (9%)
9. Putting food and drink in electrical objects (7%)
10. Hiding valuables in the washing machine (6.6%)
Any parent will recognise the potential for disaster here: when an unattended crayon can lead to a requirement to repaint the lounge, or where a glass of blackcurrant squash can become a permanent addition to the dining room carpet.
However, the sheer scale of the problem is impressive. It appears that one in three children will go through a stage of drawing on the walls, and more than one in five will tear the wallpaper, so if you have a couple of children there's a very strong chance that one of them will force you to redecorate an entire room at some point because of their destructive tendencies.
And while there are some things you can do to toddler-proof your home, it's fair to say that some of these acts of destruction defy even the most toddler-proofed abode. You can avoid becoming one of the 7% of people who will turn their back for a second and discover a piece of toast jammed into the DVD player, by moving the player out of reach. Likewise you can put away every vase, picture and photo frame until they are a bit older. But how exactly do you prevent them from jumping on the bed? Or tearing the wallpaper?
Once you are out of the toddler years you may think you're home free, but think again. It's true that after the age of 10, levels of household ruin gradually fall until children become young adults and reach 16. However, at this point the damage they inflict begins to rise once again, totalling £310 million across the nation at the age of 18. By far the biggest risk for children in this age bracket comes from house parties.
It seems like there's very little we can do but clean up, repair, and redecorate once they've moved out.
Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims
The £3.55 billion risk lurking in your home
The owner of a holiday home in Spain returned to inspect his property after he had let it to a group of young people in their 20s for two weeks, to find that they had created an indoor beach including sand and water to emulate the sea. The youngsters explained that the local beach “hadn’t lived up to their expectations”.
A slightly oblivious swan didn’t see what was coming his way. It was flying happily through the air, completely unaware of a set of high voltage power cables in its flight path which it duly hit. The swan had the shock of its life and dived straight for the roof of a holiday home underneath, crashing through the roof and leaving a massive hole in need of fixing.
At a holiday home in France, a cow walked over a swimming pool cover. As the cow was considerably heavier than the cover could hold, the cover broke and the unsuspecting cow took an involuntary dip in the pool; resulting in considerable damage to the pool and the need for a winch to rescue the distraught bovine.
Holiday guests staying in a Spanish property moved items of furniture from inside the holiday home they were renting, including a sofa, single bed and chest of drawers, into the shallow end of the swimming pool. The guests had been under the influence of alcohol when they’d decided to rearrange the furniture in such a way and claimed they "couldn’t remember" why they had done it.
A particularly passionate couple managed to not only badly scratch the wooden floor of their bedroom by causing the bed to move vehemently, but also caused the bed to break, as well as the bedside lamp and bedside table. The couple explained that all damage had been caused during one session of lovemaking and they apologised profusely.
Following a rental, a holiday home owner made a gory discovery; he found blood splattered all over carpets and walls. After further investigation, he discovered a makeshift cardboard coffin containing a pig’s head in the bin, suggesting that a sacrifice had taken place at his property.
A young couple tried to pursue a claim against the owner of their holiday apartment in Spain on the basis that both bed sheets and towels were "too hard" and caused scratches and irritations on the skin, which prevented them from using the pool and sunbathing comfortably.
A holiday cottage in Devon needed completely redecorating after the holiday guests had decided to have an indoor barbecue on the flagstone floor, as ‘the weather didn’t allow for having it outside’.
One unsuspecting holiday property owner in Italy was shocked to find out that his house had been turned into a brothel by his guests during a four week rental period, resulting in the need for a deep clean and replacement of soft furnishings.
A lady in her late 30s from Manchester sought compensation from the owner of her holiday home in Marbella as the gravel on the driveway "had wrecked" four pairs of her designer stilettos and forced her to replace them with new ones.