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Remember remember… to protect your belongings!

Remember remember… to protect your belongings!

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 03/11/2014
First Published: 03/11/2014

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

It's a busy week for petty criminals. Not only has Halloween been and gone, but Bonfire Night is next on the horizon – and research from Aviva has revealed that Bonfire Night is one of the worst days of the year for insurance claims, with burglaries, car theft and fire claims seeing a significant spike.

The figures show that, compared with an average day, Bonfire Night sees a 20% rise in car theft, a 22% increase in burglaries and a 60% hike in fire claims. This is just a few days after Halloween, when claims for malicious damage soar by 160% – and Bonfire Night is next on the list.

Don't think that the costs will be negligible, either. A typical fire can cause about £12,800 of damage, while electronic gadgets, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, top thieves' wishlists, and the cost of these can quickly skyrocket. That's why it's so vital to make sure you're properly protected from any financial loss by checking that your insurance policies provide the level of cover necessary, but it's also important to be proactive in your attempts to protect your belongings.

Be vigilant

Sometimes, the best ways to be proactive are the simplest and most obvious, but it's surprising how many people overlook them, particularly at this time of year. The research found that a large number of people don't check their doors and windows are locked when hosting or attending parties: 13% of those surveyed leave their front door unlocked when they're having their own fireworks display, and two-thirds don't check their windows are locked.

This could provide burglars with easy access to their home, because if all the fun's happening in the back garden, opportunist thieves could easily sneak in through the front. This lack of thought doesn't just apply on home turf, either, as 33% of those that attend fireworks parties elsewhere don't check that their windows are locked before they leave.

Simon Warsop, chief underwriting officer at Aviva, commented:

"We have more burglary claims on Bonfire Night than any day of the year. Many families will be out enjoying the spectacle, but the distraction of loud fireworks gives opportunistic thieves the chance to steal from homes – especially if doors and windows are left unlocked.

"With more burglars on the prowl, this could lead to an unforgettable fireworks night for all the wrong reasons. And, with fire claims and vandalism also increasing during this period, stay vigilant and safe while enjoying the bonfire festivities."

Tips to keep burglars at bay

  • If you're hosting your own fireworks display, make sure front windows and doors are locked securely.
  • Or, if you're heading out to a party, leave a radio and lights on to give the impression that people are at home – and make sure to thoroughly check the locks before you leave.
  • Investing in a timer switch could be ideal, as it ensures that lights will be switched on as it gets dark to maximise the ruse.
  • Close your curtains so you're not displaying your wares to would-be burglars.
  • Don't tell strangers who know your address (such as delivery men or taxi drivers) that your house is likely to be empty.
  • Put your car and bikes in your garage or out of the way for the night, and at the very least have all immobilising devices intact and in use. Don't leave your keys in an obvious place, either.
  • Hopefully all the "tricks" will have taken place last week, but just to deter vandals, move garden ornaments and potted plants from the front of your house so as not to attract unwanted attention.
  • Make sure sheds, garages and outbuildings have robust locks.

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.