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27 January 2023

Battery Packs and Your Home Risks


You’re sitting at home one evening in the mid-levels, catching up on your favorite TV show with your feet up on the couch. You’ve got your devices lined up on your Ikea console charging for tomorrow.

You smell smoke. Before you know it there is a full-blown fire under the TV. All your devices are going up in flames and the TV is starting to melt.

Fortunately, you’ve got a fire extinguisher. So, you grab that, as fast as you can, and start spraying the fire. It goes out. You leave the apartment and call 999.

The fire department and police arrive to tell you that there is no further fire danger, and are slightly impressed at your foresight to have a fire extinguisher on hand. But your apartment is ruined, there is smoke everywhere and you’re going to have to find somewhere else to live for a while.

Although the fire was bad, it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been.

The fire extinguisher and the Ikea console (built to exacting EU standards) worked together to mitigate much of the possible damage. But you’re still out a TV and some furniture, you still need to deal with the smoke damage, and your family and pets have to find (and pay for) somewhere to live while your apartment is returned to a livable standard.

Home insurance in Hong Kong

The dangers of batteries inside your home

While the scenario outlined above may seem like a wildly unlikely hypothetical, a fire of this sort occurred in Hong Kong within the last week. The family involved did nothing wrong, but were simply the unfortunate victims of one of the biggest dangers of modern life – Lithium-Ion Batteries.

Lithium-Ion batteries are ubiquitous.

From cell phones, to laptop computers and tablets, and even e-bikes, scooters, and hoverboards, Lithium-Ion batteries are everywhere. You probably have a couple sitting in your apartment right now, whether inside a device or as a portable/rechargeable power bank. In fact, some companies are even giving away branded Lithium-Ion batteries (with extremely high capacities) as promotional items; you may take it, stick it in a drawer somewhere, and then forget about that battery forever (or at least until the next time you move).

The issue is that Lithium-Ion batteries are dangerous.

They have a propensity to explode. They are also ubiquitous.

This means that if you have any lithium-ion batteries inside your apartment, you’re really living with a bomb that could go off at any given moment.

It should be noted that this is not hyperbole; we’re not exaggerating for effect. We’re not overstating the very real dangers of Lithium-Ion batteries present to the safety and well being of you and your family.

Personal Device Insurance Hong Kong

Managing your batteries this holiday season

It’s almost Christmas, which for many people means giving and receiving presents. In this day and age that probably means things like phones, cameras, tablets, tech toys that invariably involves a Lithium-Ion battery. If you’re going to have batteries in your home, it is imperative that you manage these devices properly and in a safe manner.

  1. Only purchase and use batteries which are listed and tested by a qualified testing laboratory.
  2. Do not charge any device or battery under your pillow, on the couch, or on your bed.
  3. Do not charge devices together in groups.
  4. Only use official chargers and accessories provided by the manufacturer of your device.
  5. Store batteries away from direct sunlight and in a cool place.
  6. Avoid leaving batteries in unattended vehicles.

If you notice a change in Odor, a change in Color, the battery becoming excessively hot, the battery changing shape, or making any noises, move away from the device and immediately call 999 to contact the fire department. Do not attempt to dispose of the battery yourself if you are concerned about it being unstable.

If you are disposing of any Lithium-Ion batteries, or any devices containing Lithium-Ion batteries, you should always take them to an accredited battery recycler. Never dispose of any Lithium-Ion battery in ordinary trash/garbage, no matter how small or innocuous – a battery may come into contact with moisture in the garbage and become reactive causing an explosion.

Finally, you should never store unused or discarded batteries in piles.

Personal Device Insurance Hong Kong

Lithium Ion Batteries and your Home Insurance

In a worst-case scenario and, despite all your precautions, a battery fire occurs in your flat then it is important that you are able to pick up the pieces as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Home Insurance can help. Also known as Renter’s Insurance in many parts of the world, Home Contents Insurance assists you in ensuring you are able to replace your possessions in the event that they are lost, stolen, or damaged. In Hong Kong, many content’s insurance policies will provide coverage on a worldwide all risks basis – so no matter what may happen, your stuff is protected.

In addition, this type of insurance policy is often able to provide coverage for alternative accommodation should your home be uninhabitable due to accidental loss or damage to your personal possessions. In the case of the lithium ion battery fire illustrated here, the smoke damage has caused the family to relocate while their home is returned to fit condition. Under a home contents insurance plan the costs of finding a hotel, or other temporary accommodation would be covered by the insurance policy.

Home Contents insurance even thinks about food – to the extent that there may even be a food allowance should you need to find a temporary living situation. Even if your fridge should unexpectedly fail outside of a fire, many Hong Kong Home Contents insurance plans will provide limited protection to enable replacement of the contents.

Home Contents Insurance, despite the name, goes so much further than simply protecting your belongings and the things inside your apartment. This type of insurance works to ensure that your life is minimally impacted should something go wrong in your home. Whether this is a battery fire or a burglary, a trip on the edge of the carpet or a landslide outside the building, if it effects your life at home a Home Contents Insurance policy can probably cover it.

Contents and Fire insurance in Hong Kong

Home Contents Insurance In Hong Kong

This holiday season it is important that you take steps to protect your home and your loved ones from all eventualities. Whether it is the risks posed by a Christmas Party, or the danger of an explosion caused by the device you purchased for your spouse as a present, even the most mundane or simple things can go wrong.

Should your safety efforts be overcome, Home Insurance can provide the invaluable support and assistance you need to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.

For more information, or to receive a free Hong Kong Home Insurance Quote, please Contact Us to speak to an expert insurance broker. All our consultations are provided on a no-risk, no-obligation basis, and if you decide to purchase a policy, we work to ensure that you only pay for what you need.

CCW Global – We’re Simplifying Your Insurance.

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