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Don’t let a grinch ruin Christmas

Don’t let a grinch ruin Christmas

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 19/12/2014
First Published: 15/12/2014

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Now that Christmas is nearly here, your home is probably stuffed full of gifts. However, this means that your home could now be featuring on the hit list of would-be grinches, with burglars taking advantage of the long hours of darkness and your absence at Christmas parties to do their own form of Christmas shopping.

Sadly, many homeowners find themselves the victim of burglary at this time of year – and the price can be high. According to Halifax, Christmas thieves cost £1.1 million in insurance claims last December, with the average claim costing around £1,651. This is a sizeable sum, and unless you take precautions, you could find yourself on the phone to your home insurers instead of enjoying the festive season.

Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax Insurance, commented: "Taking some small steps to ramp up home security, extra care with deliveries and checking your home insurance cover will help prevent would-be grinches from dampening Christmas, potentially leaving householders thousands of pounds out of pocket."

Protecting your home from burglars

  • Don't leave gifts on show

Christmas trees look wonderful with all the presents underneath, but if your tree is positioned by the window, then you could be giving a new meaning to 'window shopping'. If you want to display your gifts under the tree, position it away from prying eyes.

  • Leave the lights on

If you're heading out, make sure you leave some lights on. Having lights on makes it harder for a burglar to judge whether anyone is home. Using a timer so that lights go on and off throughout the evening will make this ruse even more convincing.

You can also use Christmas lights to your advantage – lighting up the outside of your home makes it harder for burglars to sneak in.

  • Protect your car

Leaving shopping in your car is an open invitation to thieves. Make sure you take all of your shopping out, but if you do need to leave shopping in your car, make sure you park somewhere well-lit and secure. Putting the most expensive items at the bottom of the boot and using a parcel shelf to hide your bags will also help.

  • Lock your windows

Outdoor Christmas lights are often powered from inside and fed through a window. Before leaving home, make sure all doors and windows are locked and don't forget to check any that have wires running out of them.

  • Manage your deliveries

Never give a delivery company permission to leave a parcel outside your house. Not only does this open up the risk of someone walking off with it, but it also advertises the fact that you are not home. Try to have deliveries left with a neighbour, or see if you could have it delivered to your workplace.

  • Think about what you throw away

Chucking the boxes of your latest gadgets outside your home is a surefire way to flag up what goodies you now have. Don't keep the boxes anywhere visible and, if you can, don't throw them into the bin until collection day.

  • Beware of visitors

Christmas carollers may well be festive, but it is always best to be wary of visitors. Even while you are enjoying the singing, the security of your home may be being assessed.

If the worst happens and your house gets burgled, it will be reassuring to know that your insurance company will foot the bill. Dig out your home insurance policy and check what you're covered for, along with the expiry date.

What next?

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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.