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Don’t give burglars a festive opportunity…

Don’t give burglars a festive opportunity…

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 23/11/2015
First Published: 23/11/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The Christmas shopping season is in full swing, but unfortunately, this means that many people's homes will be filled to the brim with enticing goodies – and opportunistic burglars may be looking for ways to take advantage.

The Christmas shopping countdown

According to figures from The Co-operative Insurance, the nation is full of particularly organised Christmas shoppers this year, with 42% of respondents saying that they planned to have finished their gift-buying by 22 November – which means that many households will already have finished the big Christmas shop!

A further 33% are planning to hit the shops between today and 6 December, the most popular time to shop, meaning that the majority of people won't be leaving things until the last minute. However, no matter when you're planning to do the shopping, you'll probably spend a fair bit – the average amount consumers will spend on gifts is set to be £437, while 6% expect to spend over £1,000 – which means you'll be stashing away some truly pricey treats.

Don't put your parcels at risk!

Not only does it make sense that burglars will be on the prowl when there are likely to be a lot more goodies around, but the statistics back it up: thefts are officially the most prevalent in the winter months, increasing by 38% compared with other times of year. So just what can you do to protect your parcels? Here are a few top tips:

  • Install motion-sensitive security lights. These are the most likely to put off potential thieves, with 26% of former burglars saying that they steered clear of homes that had them installed.
  • CCTV cameras are another great deterrent, with 22% of would-be burglars avoiding houses with these in place.
  • Get a dog! A dog's bark would be enough to make 15% of burglars walk away, but a "Beware of the Dog" sign wouldn't do it – and incidentally, neither does gravel – so you'd need to be truly committed to the cause.
  • A professional burglar alarm would be avoided by 11% of burglars, but again, make sure they're the real thing and not just there for show.
  • If you go on holiday, don't leave the curtains shut – this was cited as a key mistake a lot of homeowners make, as curtains that are permanently shut are a noticeable sign of someone being out of the house.
  • Don't leave expensive items in full view of the street. Leaving things on show is asking for trouble as it's almost inviting burglars in – if they can see expensive gifts sitting there and can't see any deterrent, you may not have them for much longer.
  • Check your home insurance policy. This may not prevent burglars from targeting your home, but it can certainly give you valuable peace of mind as you'll know that your finances will be protected should the worst happen, which would allow you to replace those long saved-for gifts. Many insurers even increase the level of cover they offer at Christmas – Co-op, for example, increases cover limits by 10% during the festive period – so you can be safe in the knowledge that everything's under control.

"As Christmas approaches, houses begin to fill up with valuable items, all of which are desirable to thieves, which many people have saved up for months to afford," said Jonathan Guy, head of Claims at Co-op Insurance. "Many people will be visiting their nearest and dearest over the holidays but nobody should have to deal with somebody entering their home and stealing their possessions.

"Our research has shown that simply installing a security light outside the home can deter burglars from targeting properties. If you are going away, you could ask a family member or neighbour to visit your property to keep a check on things… Prevention is always better than cure, and a few simple steps can ensure that nobody has a 'Blue Christmas' this year."

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.