The Christmas season is upon us and with homes being filled with festivities and gifts, burglars are never far away, never more so on New Year’s Eve it seems.
According to claims data from Aviva, homes are 24% more likely to be broken into on 31 December, New Year’s Eve, than on an average day.
Perhaps surprisingly, in contrast, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have one of the lowest crime rates of the year – even the burglars need their holiday!
If you are one of the unfortunate one to be burgled on 24 or 25 December, valuables stolen are likely to be worth £1,700 on average, higher than normal.
According to Aviva, the top 10 Christmas wish list this year comprises:
- Apple iPhone 4S
- Apple iPad 2
- LED/3D Televisions
- Kindle (particularly new touch screen version)
- Apple iPod (particularly Touch)
- Games Consoles (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
- Digital Cameras
- Handheld Consoles (including 3DS)
- Blackberry and HTC smartphones
However, as the burglars ‘wish list’ from 2010 shows, these pricey gadgets are all so tempting, as the top 10 items stolen included laptops, Nintendo Wii, Apple iPods, Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo DSi, Sony PSP, Apple MacBooks, Microsoft Xbox 360, Mobile phones including iPhones and Apple Macbook Pros.
Aviva, as do many of the main home insurance providers, automatically increase home contents cover over the Christmas period. Be aware though that in January, when you have all the new toys and gadgets received in your home, home contents limits will revert back to normal – are your limits high enough?
With help from Aviva, here are some top tips to keep safe and happy this Christmas:
- Don’t tempt burglars by leaving presents under the tree – try to keep them out of sight, at least until the big day!
- Attics and lofts are a good hiding place for presents and it’s usually too much effort for the average burglar to look that hard for items to steal, plus they’ll be far away from the wandering eyes and hands of excited children
- Ensure all gift packaging is as unidentifiable as possible when you throw it out. It’s easy to just dump new TV or iPod boxes in or near your outside bin but it’s a beacon of advertising to opportunistic burglars
- When it comes to New Year’s Eve, or indeed any other time you are leaving the house, double check the home security before you leave – ensure all doors, windows, sheds and garages are locked securely and spare keys aren’t on display or near to your front door
- Leave lights and the TV or radio on if you’re out and about to help make burglars think you’re home
- Be neighbourly – keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and alert the police if necessary to help prevent a miserable Christmas or New Year for your neighbour.
MoneyHighStreet comments: “Christmas can be an expensive time and a key part of this expense are down to presents so it’s vital to make sure your items are fully protected by insurance – both the gifts you are buying for others that are stored in your own home and of course the gifts you in turn receive from others.
“Underinsurance is a big issue and whilst it’s good to see that many insurers are responding by automatically upping the limits on home insurance policies to cover the extra value in homes, it is important that you understand exactly what cover your particular policy provides.
“It’s not just at Christmas though that being underinsured is a potential issue. Many people are hoarding valuable items, perhaps through collections, perhaps through gold and other jewellery or indeed as a result of inheriting them.
“Take the time to check you have the correct level of cover and if need be get individual items professionally valued and specifically covered by your insurance – get the help of an insurance broker if need be.”