At Christmas time the value of the contents of your house is pushed up by the amount of presents you have, whether they are wrapped, unwrapped, stored in a cupboard, under the bed or under the tree! In the festive period we are often laden with gifts, both those to hand out to friends and family members and those gifts which we’ve been lucky to receive. However, we often tend to squirrel gifts away in one place, which makes it nice and easy for burglars when then come to call. Add to this the fact that a great number of people leave their homes and travel to see friends and family in the run up to Christmas, as well as over the festive period and into the New Year, you can see that there is the perfect opportunity for thieves to come-a-calling.
The weather is another contributing factor with snow and heavy rain often falling, it’s even more important to make sure you have the correct insurance in place to protect both your home and the extra contents in it during Christmas. Some insurance companies will allow you to boost your cover at Christmas to take into account the increased value of presents – check your small print to see if this applies to you.
There is no actual standard policy for Christmas cover, although some policies do make allowances for religious events and festivals, typically including Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Eid and Hanukkah – and you can also include weddings too! It is sensible to check with your broker or insurance company if you are seeking extra insurance, professional advice is invaluable in ensuring you have all the cover you need.
If you are going away in December or January, make sure a trusted neighbour or friend is around to take in any mail or packages and open and close your curtains, turn lights on and off and generally give your house an air of being lived-in. If you are going out for long periods of time, leave a radio on and do move any valuables out of sight – and sadly, this includes any present piles under the Christmas tree.
If you are buying new items for your house at Christmastime, make sure you dispose of the packaging carefully. For example, if you buy a new TV, don’t just put the box by the bin, any passing thief may be tempted to take your new acquisition as you have kindly advertised the fact you have a nice, new shiny piece of equipment.
Make sure that your children are careful when using Social Media and do not broadcast when you will be away at a party etc. Keep your arrangements as secret as possible on social media because you do not know who is accessing the information.
Although the cost of heating a house is very expensive, do try and leave your heating on low, or at least have it coming on for a couple of hours a day if you are to be away as this will help ward off frozen pipes. Make sure that your pipes are insulated and consider fitting new washers if any of the taps are dripping – and remember to cover any outside taps. These little actions may save you a lot of heartache if the weather does become seasonal!
A few simple measures can help ensure you have a Happy Christmas and New Year. If you need any insurance advice at all (and remember, if you are lucky enough to receive a high cost item as a gift, you may need to add this separately to your home insurance policy), then just give our friendly and festive team at Westhill Insurance Services a call. Our help and advice are free and we look forward to helping you have a safe and jolly Christmas.