Don't let Santa get stuck down the chimney: Chimney damage sets Brits back £27 million

  • Nearly a third (31 per cent) of those with a working fireplace do not do anything to maintain it, setting up potential problems for Christmas Eve
  • Last December saw a 41 per cent increase in chimney related insurance claims compared to the previous year
  • Over 30,000 claims have been made for chimneys across the UK in the last two years alone, costing more than £27 million to fix


Santa could be at risk of getting stuck down the chimney this Christmas, due to poor chimney maintenance, reveals new research from Direct Line Home Insurance1. In the last two years alone, more than 30,000 claims have been made for chimneys across the UK, costing homeowners over £27 million to fix.

It could be a problematic Christmas for Santa, as many chimneys are not receiving the regular maintenance they need. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of those with a working fireplace and chimney, almost five million people, do not do anything to maintain them.

More than a quarter (27 per cent or eight million people) of homeowners with chimneys have had problems over the last five years, with storm damage the overwhelming cause (82 per cent). With potential bad weather hitting the UK over the festive period, it is more important now than ever to ensure your chimney is in good condition this Christmas.

Other common chimney problems can include blockages (eight per cent), chimney cap damage (six per cent), brickwork problems (six per cent), and cracks in the flue (five per cent).

The winter months are typically the worst for chimney-related claims, with the last two winters (December to February) accounting for 44 per cent of all such claims across both financial years2. December 2020 saw a 41 per cent increase in chimney-related claims compared to the previous year, with more than 1,000 claims made throughout the month. Those who want to ensure Santa has a smooth slide into their homes this Christmas may wish to consider maintenance to their chimney as soon as possible.

For those homeowners who do not have a chimney and fireplace, Santa enters their house in a different way. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of people tell their children that Santa has magic powers to help him enter their home, while similar numbers (23 per cent) say that Santa has a magic key so he can go through the front door.

Dan Simson, Head of Direct Line Home Insurance said: “This Christmas, Direct Line Home Insurance wants to make sure that Santa can deliver all presents with ease, by reminding homeowners how important it is to maintain their fireplace and chimney. They can look very festive this time of year but are also important to keep clean, swept and clear. It can be easy to forget chimney maintenance as it isn’t as obvious, so regular inspections are vital.”

To help homeowners ensure that their chimneys and fireplaces are not damaged this winter, Direct Line Home Insurance has provided the following tips:

  • Regular maintenance – it may sound simple, but regularly checking your fireplace and looking after your chimney is the best way of ensuring there is no damage, especially before extreme weather visits the UK
  • Be safe – make sure your chimney cap is secure to avoid rain entering your home
  • Check for cracks and crumbles – to prevent water or weather damage to your chimney, leaks can cause damage to your attic, interior ceilings, and walls
  • Don’t forget to leave some whisky out for Father Christmas – help make the man in the big red suit’s journey down the chimney even smoother and provide Santa with a tipple and perhaps even a late night snack for Rudolf!



Notes to Editors

  1. Research conducted by Opinium amongst 2,000 UK adults between 2nd – 5th November 2021
  2. Direct Line Group analysis of home insurance claims relating to chimney damage for the period January 2019 to July 2021.


For further information please contact:

Chelsey Wheeler
PR manager – Direct Line  

Tel: 01651 832 095

Email: [email protected]  

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

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