Christmas shoppers warned to be on their guard against thieves
Shoppers are being warned not to let thieves ruin their Christmas, with the average domestic burglary claim over the festive season last year standing at more than £3,000.
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), insurers dealt with the equivalent of 185 domestic burglary claims every day over the December festive season in 2022, and the average claim value jumped to £3,098, marking a 15% increase compared with July to September last year.
The ABI said many insurers will automatically increase cover over the holiday season, but people should always check their policy terms and conditions and, if they are still unsure, speak to their insurer.
To thwart Christmas thieves, the ABI’s advice is to:
– Wherever possible avoid leaving presents in an unattended vehicle. If you have to, then make sure that they are out of sight in a locked boot.
– When putting gifts under the Christmas tree, make sure they are not easily visible from the outside, or store them away elsewhere.
– Think twice about what you post on social media. Avoid details of expensive gifts such as jewellery. If you are planning to go away over the festive period, do not advertise the fact that you will be leaving your home unoccupied.
– If you are going away, make sure your home is left secure. If possible, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
– Even if only popping round to the neighbour’s home for a festive tipple, always lock your front door.
– Secure any outbuildings, sheds and garages. They may store items, such as tools and ladders, that could be used by criminals to break into your home.
– When out and about Christmas shopping, be mindful that pickpockets could be waiting to strike.
Louise Clarke, the ABI’s policy adviser, general insurance, said: “Thieves love Christmas. With many households spending hundreds of pounds on presents, this can be a very profitable time for criminals.
“Make sure you have adequate contents insurance to replace stolen gifts should the worst happen, although this can never compensate for the distress that thieves cause. Being extra security-conscious this month can help ensure that you remember Christmas for all the right reasons.”
The risk of damage can also increase for some people over Christmas.
Insurance giant Aviva said claims it has dealt with previously include those for damaged gadgets, including a smashed iPad after it was dropped on the floor, and a damaged television after a customer slipped on a small toy and fell on to the TV.
Aviva has also dealt with claims for damaged carpets and rugs from red wine spillages and knocked-over candles, as well as claims for damaged cookers and hobs from cooking Christmas dinner.
Hazel Johnson, director of home and motor claims at Aviva, said: “While the holiday season is supposed to be a time for celebration, Aviva data shows that for some it can bring unexpected surprises, including accidental damage to property, burst or frozen pipes, broken-down fridge-freezers, red wine spillages, fires started by Christmas candles, and, sadly, occurrences of theft and malicious damage to properties.
“Although some incidents may be relatively simple to fix, some claims can cause distress to customers over the Christmas period, especially those which involve fires, escape of water, or theft.
“With this in mind, we urge our customers to stay alert over the holiday season, so they can continue to enjoy their festivities. This includes making sure that candles or fires aren’t left unattended, turning off water and securing properties if they are away from home.”