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The clocks are set to go back this weekend (29 October), but it isn't just an extra hour of darkness that homeowners need to worry about – there's also the rise in home insurance claims that occurs as a result of that darkness to consider, which is why Co-op Insurance is urging homeowners to remain vigilant.
Their research uncovered a 36% rise in the number of claims relating to home thefts in the five months after the clocks go back, as opportunistic thieves take advantage of the darker evenings. Worryingly, 69% of those break-ins are classified as 'forcible and violent entry' thefts, 9.5% higher than in the summer months, when 27% are regarded as opportunistic.
The analysis went on to reveal that Friday is the most popular day for home break-ins during the darker winter, while Sundays are the least popular, perhaps highlighting that extra care needs to be taken when homeowners head out for the Christmas party. But what kind of care should you be taking? Helpfully, Co-op Insurance has asked a panel of ex-convicts what would be a key deterrent for home break-ins, helping you prepare accordingly.
Interestingly, a CCTV camera, the sound of a barking dog and strong heavy doors came out on top in terms of deterrents, followed by a TV being on, locked UPVC windows and cars parked on the driveway. Other deterrents included the property being overlooked, surrounding fences and gates outside the property, while motion-activated security lights came in as the 10th most successful deterrent.
Caroline Hunter, head of Home Insurance at the Co-op, commented: "Being burgled can be an extremely upsetting and traumatic experience. Unfortunately, when the clocks go back, darker nights do lead to more burglaries and so we're urging people to be vigilant and think carefully about the safety of their properties.
"We spoke to a number of ex-convicts to understand first-hand how homeowners can keep their properties safe. Installing CCTV cameras, or at least dummy ones, is a key deterrent called out by ex-convicts and something we'd encourage homeowners to consider."
As well as making sure you've got suitable deterrents in place, one of the most important things you can do – at least if you want to prevent a financial fallout should a burglary occur – is to make sure your home insurance is up to scratch. It can never repair the emotional damage of a break-in but it could go some way to getting things back in order, so make sure to look at the small print of your current contract, and if it doesn't quite hit the mark, compare home insurance policies to see if you can find a better one.
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