Like the occupants of Whoville in ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’, every year thousands of people suffer the horror of a burglary over the festive season. Here’s our guide on how to defend your home from thieves and how to protect your new belongings.
Pressies and possessions
If you’re considering buying your loved ones expensive gifts this Christmas, it’s important to protect them with home contents insurance. Your existing policy may not automatically cover the theft of new, expensive items like mp3 players, laptops, digital cameras, bikes, watches and jewellery.
It’s worth checking the details with your insurance provider before adding new items. Some companies might automatically add an additional 10 or 20% cover at Christmas at no extra cost. People may not realise the extra value of goods in their home over this period, so this extra cover can help make sure they have a sufficient sum insured. There are different options available – for example, ‘new-for-old’ cover is where the insurer reimburses you the cost of a newer, more up-to-date version of the insured item. This would help you replace an old item by taking into account today’s prices.
Valuables worth over a certain amount (usually £1,500 – £2,000) will probably need to be individually specified in a policy. For valuable antiques and fine art, you may need to purchase specialist, separate contents insurance.
It’s also important to check what steps you need to take if the worst happens and you are burgled. This usually includes reporting the crime to the police, getting a crime reference number, calling the insurance company as soon as possible and providing the insurer with ‘reasonable evidence’ that the items belong to you. ‘Reasonable evidence’ may vary between insurers but remember to hang onto receipts, make a note of serial numbers before you wrap up your gifts and take photographs of items.
Insurers can sometimes offer discounts on premiums to those who take measures to increase security on their property. You could consider installing high quality locks on windows and doors and fitting a burglar alarm. These security features should not only make your home less vulnerable to crime, but could also reduce your premium. Always try to hide expensive items out of sight to avoid tempting would-be thieves. Some insurers might even suggest a particular make of alarm, so it might be worth speaking to them. If you’re careful, you can also earn a no-claims discount making insurance even more affordable.
Statistically, burglaries are most likely to occur from 6am to 6pm during the week and a reported 40% are opportunistic. Be sure to lock-up the house before going to bed, close curtains and test burglar alarms regularly.
Lastly, hide Christmas gifts in the loft or somewhere that isn’t easily accessible. Avoid placing presents under the tree before the big day arrives and take gift boxes/packaging to rubbish tips so that thieves don’t know what new items they can expect to find.
Have a great holiday season!