Christmas shopping tends to divide us into two camps – those who prepare months ahead of time, and those who engage in the last-minute-panic-dash. Yet, whatever your M.O., filling your home with gifts over the festive season means the value of your contents is going to increase. Combine this with a 38% upsurge in household thefts over the winter months and you can see why it pays to make sure you’re covered by insurance, just in case.
"If you’re planning on buying expensive gifts, it could be worth increasing your individual item claim limit."
No one can accuse the Brits of being stingy. Last year, the average household planned on spending an impressive £473.83 on presents alone. Should your gifts get stolen, it’s not an amount you want to be shelling out twice. So, how can you make sure you’re covered, and what can you do to prevent the unfortunate event of your gifts being stolen?
Check your contents insurance policy
Some contents insurance providers automatically increase the value of your cover over the festive period. This will vary depending on who your policy is with, and there will be limits and exclusions, so make sure you read the small print. If necessary, consider increasing your cover.
Review your individual item claim limit
Are you an extravagant shopper? What is the individual item limit on your current policy? If you’re planning on buying expensive gifts, it could be worth increasing this amount – and even adding specific presents as named items onto your policy.
Check your credit card small print
If you’ve been using your credit card to go shopping, you may be covered by another type of insurance. Purchase protection covers you in the event your goods are damaged, lost or stolen, for a set period of time. However, not all credit cards offer this, and it only works if you don’t have any other insurance in place (such as contents) – you can’t claim on both.
Don’t let your home be a target for thieves
A recent survey by Aviva revealed even thieves take time off for Christmas Day. However, it’s a short-lived respite. While we’re all out partying on New Year’s Eve, claims rise by 8%, with electronic items a particular target.
Although contents insurance can help you replace your gifts, it can still be distressing to lose them, particularly if sentimental items are stolen as well. Therefore, your best bet is to make your home as secure as possible. Plus, if it’s not, you may find you can’t claim on your insurance policy.
How to make your home less attractive to thieves:
- Can a passer-by see the presents under the tree? This could be a target for opportunist thieves, especially if no one’s home during the day. Consider drawing the curtains when you’re out or waiting until Christmas Eve to display the gifts.
- When you go out, close and lock all doors and windows, put any valuables out of sight, set the burglar alarm, and use a timer for indoor and outdoor lights and the radio so it seems like someone’s at home.
- Once presents are unwrapped, break down any branded boxes and put them into bin bags for collection. Leaving an uncovered box next to the bins merely advertises what’s in your house.
- If you’re lucky enough to be heading away for the festive season, don’t publicise this on any publicly-visible social media platform. Also check your contents insurance policy wording as some providers won’t cover you for extended absences from the home.
Be security conscious even while shopping
Although we naturally focus on home security, thefts from cars also go up at this time of year.
Don’t leave anything on view in a parked car – this is an easy target for thieves. It’s best to carry everything with you, or, if you’re doing the last-minute-panic-dash and have a lot to get, leave goods with the shops and collect everything when you're done. If you must, store the gifts in the boot but be sure to take them home as quickly as possible. And make sure you park in an attended car park as you’re less likely to be broken into.
Check your insurance policies. Some comprehensive car insurance covers break-ins, but there will be a limit and this might not replace everything you’ve bought. Likewise, your contents policy might have personal items insurance for when you’re out of the home, but again there will be a limit and may also be exclusions on the types of items that are claimable. With both these options, you’ll also need to pay an excess.
Safeguard your home from other threats
As well as thefts, this time of year also sees a rise in house fires. This can be equally devastating, so again, prevention is key. Be sure to turn off festive lights when out of the house, don’t overload your plug sockets, and never leave candles or open fires unattended.
Although the risk of theft and fire increases at this time of year, putting a few measures in place will mean you and your family can enjoy the festive season, worry-free. And don’t forget, Christmas isn’t just about giving. So be sure to update your insurer with details of any valuable gifts you’ve received that you’d like to have covered under your contents insurance policy too.
Thinking of switching contents insurance provider? Find out if TSB’s Pick and Protect contents insurance can save you some money.
Applicants must be UK residents and aged 16+. Terms and conditions apply. Pick & Protect Home Insurance is provided by TSB Bank plc, and underwritten by Aviva Insurance Ltd.