Millions of homes will be left empty this Christmas, offering easy pickings to opportunistic burglars, latest research shows.
Figures from insurer Policy Expert suggest that one-in-four people intend to be away for festivities. As the burglary rate generally peaks towards the end of December, with thieves making the most of the annual holiday season, unattended homes are more vulnerable than usual.
Where do revellers go?
Of those who’ll be away, just over one-in-five (21%) expect to spend Christmas at the homes of family and friends.
Another 4% will be gobbling down the turkey in a restaurant, or treating themselves to a holiday abroad or in the UK.
Thieves left drooling by presents on display
Unfortunately, the tradition of placing presents under the Christmas tree can make it easy for burglars to identify properties containing bulging Santa sacks.
Policy Expert’s research indicates that one-in-three households put gifts on display in the run up to the big day. Hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds worth of goodies are placed in clear view, leaving thieves rubbing their hands in glee.
Home cover policies might not be enough
Having valuable gifts, booze and food in a home means householders may exceed the level of cover provided by their home insurance.
Individual ‘big ticket’ items, such as expensive jewellery or electronics, need declaring to insurers if their value exceeds single item claim limits.
And while many policies contain clauses which allow for cover to automatically rise during December, not all do, so it’s a good idea for consumers to check with their insurer. To give you that extra peace of mind, policy cover levels on contents insurance from Policy Expert automatically increase at Christmas by up to 10%.
Security tips for empty homes at Christmas
Here are some practical and relatively simple tips for keeping burglars at bay this Christmas, whether you’re out for a few hours or away for a couple of weeks:
- Presents – Don’t leave presents out on display, especially if viewable from windows.
- Present packaging – Big empty cardboard boxes placed outside are an easy visual clue for burglars. Put these out as late as possible before rubbish collections.
- Neighbours – Ask neighbours to look out for any ‘visitors’ or odd sounds, even ask them to collect mail and open and close curtains.
- Lights and sound – Put lights on timers and set the television or radio to come on and off.
- External lights – Motion sensor lights are relatively cheap and can have a big impact in putting off thieves.
- Windows and locks – Key operated window locks are usually much tougher to break through than more old-fashioned locking systems.
- Cars in drives – It might seem obvious, but arrange for a friend or neighbour to park their car in your drive to give the impression you’re at home.
If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare home insurance quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org