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Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

FoolishlyWise
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Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

So for no obvious reason, the small home server I set up is now suddenly "a fire hazard" within the house - question here is that if a fire started due to the server (a second hand PC off ebay with an extra hard drive slotted into it), would a general insurance policy cover it in case a fire started due to it?
I would of thought it would be covered, as its a domestic appliance? Not sure though. (I know it depends on different providers, but in a general sense, would it be covered?)

Cheers!
EDIT: I'm writing off to Legal and General too in order to make sure, but just wanted a rough indication by anyone who possibly knows.
20 REPLIES
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

I've known PCs to 'go bang' and give out a cloud of smoke but I've never known one to actually catch fire.
Sunday evening the charger / mains adapter of my laptop suddenly went 'pop' (no smoke but a smell rather like a struck match) causing the laptop screen to dim (as it does when on battery power).
Metal PC cases are likely to reduce fire risk as the case cannot burn and will help to contain small fires, PCs should always be kept away from soft furnishings.
Circuit boards and many other components used in PCs normally comply with American 'Underwriters' Laboratory' standards regarding propagation and spread of fire (basically the circuit board should not sustain a fire), PSUs are also similarly designed and tested, minor components can possibly burn but probably the most combustible thing in a PC is the cable insulation (PVC), I don't know but this may well be of a type that self-extinguishes (at least in some PCs).  I'm pretty sure that 'CE' marked electrical appliances are also required to meet safety standards including reducing the risk of fire.
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Quote from: meh
would a general insurance policy cover it in case a fire started due to it?
I would of thought it would be covered, as its a domestic appliance?

Generally not.  Unless you're running a business with mission critical systems and have a sprinkler system in place then leaving it on is an un-needed risk and most insurers will not cover it / void the policy should the place burn to the ground. I've heard of some of them voiding policies because a TV / video has been left on standby and caused the place to burn.
Bottom line is don't trust insurers.
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Now you have me worried - non of the various house insurance policies I have used have had that specific exclusion and, to be honest, I wouldn't have thought that such an exclusion would be legal.
Tips always include not leaving things on standby but there  doesn't appear to be any exclusions for damage due to fire
Can you provide some references
VileReynard
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

I leave my television on standby.
I leave my router on 24/7 and it's technically a computer.
Same with other stuff such as a switch, the answer machine, BT's modem...
However, I don't bother with contents insurance.  Grin

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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

I leave my refrigerator and two freezers powered all the time as well as the telephone & router, when I do switch the laptop off the power supply / charger remains plugged in (as do phone chargers etc.), I know I shouldn't leave chargers etc. plugged in (probably more from the power consumption point of view than the fire risk IMO).
I have had a small house fire (did not require the fire brigade) and that was caused by a candle.
I believe the greatest fire risk in a house is unattended cooking or heating appliances, smoking in bed is also a much greater risk than electrical equipment.
Insurance companies always want to reduce risk to a minimum (the risk of them paying out that is) so will try to make any excuse or exclusion they think they can get away with, perhaps they should refuse to cover properties where occupants smoke against fire - or perhaps refuse to cover properties where people cook?
Has anyone here ever known a computer to catch fire and cause a house fire?
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VileReynard
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Here is a Television Fire.  Cheesy

MJN
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Quote from: Sprite
Unless you're running a business with mission critical systems and have a sprinkler system in place then leaving it on is an un-needed risk and most insurers will not cover it / void the policy should the place burn to the ground. I've heard of some of them voiding policies because a TV / video has been left on standby and caused the place to burn.
Bottom line is don't trust insurers.

...Or random posts on forums likely based on anecdotal evidence.  Wink
Do you have any citations for your claim that most policies would be void in such circumstances? Having looked through mine (eSure) there's absoluely nothing to that effect.
the_groundsman
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Generally speaking the insurance policy will almost certainly cover the resulting fire damage to your home, but it may not cover the orginal fault in the computer. You will need to demonstrate it is for home use and not for business use if it is a household policy as you would be misrepresenting the risk. Computers and electrical items are often covered for accidental damage but you may struggle if it just suffers an electrical fault.
Generally like everything else I find  you get what you pay forwithin reason so if your insurer is trading on being the cheapest they are more likely to look for reasons to justify their low premiums and wriggle out of paying up than one that professes to put their customers first.. thats why i didnt go with talktalk......
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Seeing "Foxy`s" pic of a TV fire.... brought to mind the latest advert on the telly for a double bed with a TV in the Foot end.... would certainly keep your feet warm if it were to "combust" during the night.  Cheesy
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Quote from: MJN
Quote from: Sprite
Unless you're running a business with mission critical systems and have a sprinkler system in place then leaving it on is an un-needed risk and most insurers will not cover it / void the policy should the place burn to the ground. I've heard of some of them voiding policies because a TV / video has been left on standby and caused the place to burn.
Bottom line is don't trust insurers.

...Or random posts on forums likely based on anecdotal evidence.  Wink
Do you have any citations for your claim that most policies would be void in such circumstances? Having looked through mine (eSure) there's absoluely nothing to that effect.

Different insurers cover different things. I can't point you to anything online as I watched a TV program about it around 5-6 years ago and remember thinking it would be a timebomb waiting to go off as more and more people become connected.
With the advancements in tech it may have all changed. For all I know the government may have banned this exclusion - I really don't know but I know it was an issue years ago.
One things for sure, I'm not going to tell you if we leave anything on or off Wink
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steveuk
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Have left my pc's on 24/7 365 days of the year since i can remember.
PeeGee
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

So you do turn it off every 1461 days then  Crazy
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wayrail
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

As fire needs oxygen and computers don't, I suppose you could put it in a sealed metal (to let the heat escape) box filled with an inert gas.
Only if you spend a lot of time away and are a bit paranoid though. I sit computers on something (reasonably) non-flammable and non-fluffy, and tend to use the low-energy models.
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Re: Leaving PC's on & Assoc fire hazards

Or exclude the oxygen with oil ! -
>
  Crazy