Date Published 25 May 2012

It goes without saying that you should never be drunk in charge of a vehicle, and now the same applies for a house.

That’s according to new research which reveals how drunk Brits in the home have caused almost £700 million pounds worth of damage through fires, floods, breakages and leaving their properties open to burglars.

Brits have long enjoyed a drink at home, and that’s certainly true for the majority of those surveyed (83%), but what might have started as a relaxing glass of wine after work has become a tipple too far in recent years, with 61% now admitting they are regularly drunk in their homes.

However, the home is a hive of hazards for the drunken dweller and alcohol-related incidents have been responsible for causing damage to over 1.5 million properties and jeopardising the safety of their inhabitants.

The most common of these household mishaps are:

- Breaking valuable items after falling over whilst drunk (3.33 million incidents);
- Forgetting to remove the keys from the lock after returning drunk from a heavy night out - leaving the house open to burglary (2.2 million incidents);
- Causing a kitchen fire after falling asleep when cooking food (1.16 million incidents) – with burnt pizza (28%), chips (15%) and bacon (14%) being the foremost fire starters;
- Causing a flood after falling asleep and leaving kitchen and bath taps running (1.08 million incidents); and
- Causing a fire by leaving candles burning (599,104 incidents).

In addition, although three quarters (71%) of these drunken disasters were caused by Brits in their own humble abodes, the research shows that over a quarter (26%) actually unfolded in the homes of family or friends.

After delving further into the causes of these incidents, MORE TH>N Home Insurance has developed a detailed profile of the typical drunken dweller, and it’s one that will send shockwaves across Middle England. Indeed, the worst offender for being drunk in charge of a house is not a rowdy student, but a 35-54 year-old professional living in a property worth an average of £242,6734.

MORE TH>N recommends that Brits consider the following tips to avoid booze-related bedlam in their homes:

- Never cook when drunk - order a takeaway or prepare food that doesn’t require heating;
- Keep any valuable or fragile items safely out of drunken-tripping distance;
- Forget about mood lighting - leave the candles alone if you’ve had one too many drinks;
- Don’t worry about personal hygiene at the end of a heavy night - take a bath the next day; and
- Always keep your keys about your person – a retractable key ring is one way to ensure that your house doesn’t become an easy target for burglars.

Matt Pernet, from MORE TH>N Home Insurance, commented: "The dangers of drink driving are well documented, but the perils of being drunk in the home are not. Yet, as this research shows, the home can be a highly precarious place for somebody with impaired judgement. If you think you are going to be drunk at home then it pays to plan ahead. With just a few small acts of mindfulness you can significantly reduce the chances of a costly incident from occurring."

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade added: "Too many fires are started when someone has passed out and left a pizza in the oven or some bacon under the grill. If people are going to have a few drinks, whether at home or on a night out, then a takeaway is by far the safest option to satisfy any late-night cravings."