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Festive treats for sneaky thieves

Festive treats for sneaky thieves

Category: Van Insurance

Updated: 06/12/2016
First Published: 06/12/2016

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Homes up and down the country are filling up with Christmas goodies in anticipation of the main event, with lounges transformed into winter wonderlands with presents piled high under perfectly decorated trees. But, while it's festive, fun and all part of the excitement, you could unwittingly be creating a ready-made Christmas grotto for burglars to raid.

Vulnerable to thefts

New research from Policy Expert suggests that millions of homes could be vulnerable to burglary this Christmas, with 25% of respondents planning to spend the festivities away from home. This includes 21% who'll be celebrating at a friend or family member's home, and 4% who'll be at a restaurant or holidaying elsewhere, meaning huge numbers of homes will be left unattended on Christmas Day.

Many could be offering a festive free-for-all before then, too, with over half of respondents putting presents under the tree before Christmas Eve – 31% put their presents out in the third week of December, 12% in the second week and 6% in the first week – potentially leaving hundreds of pounds worth of items on show for weeks on end.

Even more worryingly, despite the value of items left out at this time of year, many homeowners fail to have adequate security measures in place to protect their homes while they're empty: just 40% have timed lights and only 35% have a burglar alarm, and 5% admitted they have no security in place whatsoever.

"Christmas can be a tempting time for opportunistic burglars – who know Brits' generosity means homes will be filled with even more valuables than usual – so it's unsurprising we see thefts rise over this time," said Adam Powell, head of Operations at Policy Expert. "Longer winter nights and shorter days mean that there are more opportunities for crime to take place under the cover of darkness, so it's important to remain vigilant and ensure your home is adequately protected.

"Any way to make your home look occupied or any visible deterrents, such as lights on timers, CCTV and burglar alarms should go some way in preventing a break in. It's likely the value of contents in your home will increase over the festive period, so it's important to remember to check any valuables or big ticket items are covered in your home insurance policy, too."

Protect your parcels this Christmas

Don't want to give burglars a free shopping trip this festive season? Bear in mind these top tips to protect your home – and your valuables – this Christmas:

· Install a timer for lights to come on once it gets dark. Choose a light in a visible room at the front of the house to create the impression that someone's home.

· Invest in motion-activated external lighting for the garden and around the front of the house (even external Christmas lights could provide some added security!).

· Install a burglar alarm. It's a visible deterrent in itself, and if someone did attempt to break in, it would alert neighbours and the police before any damage could be done.

· Don't leave curtains closed during the day , as it makes it look like there's no-one at home

· Lock outbuildings and sheds and make sure that any tools are hidden away (not only are they valuable, but they could even be used to break into your home).

· Keep valuables out of sight, and make certain that they can't be seen through the windows to remove temptation. This even applies at Christmas – it may be tempting to keep your Christmas tree and its pile of presents visible, but all it's doing is advertising your home to potential burglars.

· Never leave a spare key anywhere near the front door. Hiding a key under a doormat or flower pot may seem genius, but thieves know all the usual hiding places. Similarly, don't keep house or car keys just inside your front door, as burglars could try to fish for them through the letterbox.

· Check your home insurance policy. It may not protect your parcels from theft, but if they were stolen, at least you needn't worry about the financial impact of replacing them. Your home could well be full of pricier-than-normal items at this time of year, so check your contents cover is up to scratch – many insurers provide additional cover as standard during the festive season – and if you could do with a better deal, compare quotes instead.

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.