Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for thieves. They are ready and waiting to take full advantage of our generosity in buying expensive presents and storing them under a tree in full view of a window. It must be very tempting, especially when we tell everyone we are leaving the house empty.
It is really worth remembering that when anyone asks what you are doing for Christmas, it pays to be vague. Don’t tell them you are visiting friends or relatives on certain days and particularly keep quiet if you are going on holiday. You never know who might be listening!
Another thing to think about is insurance. As gifts stack up under the tree, so will the total value of your home contents, which is why it’s crucial to check your insurance to ensure any expensive items, such as jewellery, are covered. It’s worth reviewing this after Christmas too in case you received expensive presents.
For peace of mind, many insurers will automatically increase your cover over the holiday season but you should always check your policy terms and conditions. If you are still unsure what you are covered for, speak to your insurer broker.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has issued some very important advice for warding off the Christmas criminals this year:
- Wherever possible avoid leaving presents in an unattended vehicle, especially when you are shopping. If you have to, make sure they are out of sight in a locked boot.
- When putting presents under the Christmas tree be sure they are not easily visible from outside, otherwise store somewhere else.
- Think twice about what you post on social media. Avoid details of expensive presents like jewellery and do not advertise if you are going away over the festive period, so leaving your home unoccupied. (This actually applies all year)
- If you are going away over the period, make sure your home is left secure. If possible, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
- Even if only popping round to the neighbours for a festive tipple, always lock your front door.
- Secure any outbuildings or sheds, especially as they may store implements that can be used to break into your home.
Sarah Brodie, ABI Senior Policy Adviser, General Insurance said: “Thieves love Christmas. With many households spending hundreds of pounds on presents, this can be a very profitable time for criminals. Make sure you have adequate contents insurance to replace stolen gifts should the worst happen, although this can never compensate for the distress that thieves cause. Being extra security conscious this month can help ensure that you remember Christmas for all the right reasons.”