How to ‘insure’ your home is safe this festive period

20 December 2018

Christmas

  • Co-op Insurance offers home security tips as thefts increase a third in winter
  • One in 10 homeowners and renters would ignore an alarm going off in their street

Co-op Insurance is urging people to be extra vigilant, as poor home security and cars filled with gifts can be easy pickings for opportunistic thieves over the festive period.

The insurer can reveal that home theft claims increase by over a third (34%)1 in the winter months as the nights get darker and homeowners are busy with festive celebrations. Last winter, thieves were most likely to strike on a gloomy Monday, with home thefts least likely to occur on a Sunday.2

Research from Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch has found that while 12% of homeowners and renters would knock on a neighbour’s door if they thought it was their alarm going off to check everything was okay, almost one in 10 (8%) admit to ignoring an alarm going off in their street.3

For peace of mind during the festive period Co-op Insurance automatically increases its customer’s contents cover by 10% in the weeks before and after Christmas and New Year to allow for the extra gifts and valuables in the home.4

At this time of year the fridge or freezer might be full with festive treats, so check that your insurance policy covers you, as should your fridge or freezer break, or there is a power failure, any spoilt food in the freezer will be covered by Co-op.*

Co-op Insurance offers the following advice to keeping your home and belongings safe throughout the festive period:

  • Lock all windows and doors securely and switch on your alarm system

  • Close your curtains when you have the lights on inside, in the dark winter months it is easy to tell when a house is unoccupied and burglars can use this to their advantage

  • If you’re out for the night, leave a light on inside to look like the house is occupied

  • Whilst out Christmas shopping don’t let your belongings out of sight and make sure it is secure, as in busy crowds you can be an easy target for pick pockets

  • Be sure to leave your presents out of sight and well hidden, even when they’ve been opened. If your tree is near a window, keep those presents out from under the tree. If you’re out Christmas shopping in your car, be sure to leave them out of view and locked in the boot

  • Be careful what you post on social media. As tempting as it is to show your friends what Santa’s bought you for Christmas, think carefully who will be able to read your posts, and make sure you check your privacy settings to see who can and who can’t read them

  • After the mania of present opening, discard your cardboard packaging in your bin outside or better still take to your local recycling centre, don’t leave on show outside for thieves to see what presents you’ve got

  • Check your insurance policy, presents kept in your home will be covered by your usual contents insurance, but if you've bought big ticket items as gifts they may need to be listed separately. Typically, the limit for single items ranges from £1,000 to £2,000, so check your policy and call your insurer if you've purchased anything above your limit

  • Make sure high value items such as gadgets are covered away from the home as these are not necessarily covered on a standard home insurance policy - personal possessions cover is often required

  • Also check to see your insurance policy covers accidental damage cover, for any breakages to new items such as laptops, or wine spillages over the Christmas period

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at the Co-op, says:

“Burglary is an extremely upsetting experience for anyone who happens to find themselves in this situation, especially at Christmas, but by taking some simple security measures it can easily be prevented. The festive period is a particularly busy time for lots of us, so it’s easy to be distracted. That’s why it’s important to double-check your doors and windows before you go out and to make sure presents and valuables are kept out of sight from potential thieves.

“Checking you have adequate cover over the festive season allows you to focus on the festivities instead of worrying that something may go wrong, so be sure to check that your policy provides a seasonal uplift.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch, advises:

“To prevent burglary, the most important thing you can do is to make it look like there’s someone in your home at all times. Having CCTV installed or a dummy camera can act as a deterrent to thieves and while keeping an eye on your neighbours can help to create a safer community and reduce crime, if you do see anything suspicious in your street you should never put yourself in danger by acting alone.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1Co-op claims data analysed from 2013, comparison between 5 months preceding the end of daylight savings time and 5 months after

2Claims data analysed over winter months 2017/18

3Research conducted by Atomik on behalf of Co-op Insurance among 2,000 homeowners and renters across the UK in 2018

410% uplift during the 30 days before and 30 days after a religious event or festival

*Food in the Freezer – loss of or damage to frozen food in any domestic deep freezer or fridge/freezer in the home caused by failure of the appliance or failure of the power supply, is covered up to £1000 in respect of any one event for home insurance policies purchased with Co-op Insurance direct.

Accidental damage – Co-op standard contents insurance provides accidental damage cover to specific items in your home such as TV's, DVD, audio and video equipment (but not portable items such as laptops), and breakage of glass in furniture, mirrors and ceramic in hobs. However if you want to protect your contents against other types of accidental damage e.g. spilling paint on your carpet or furniture or dropping an ornament you will need to add this optional cover to your policy.

Media contacts:

Jenna Moss: jenna.moss@coop.co.uk / 07770 441 828 Hannah Charlton: Hannah.charlton@coop.co.uk / 07713 314 894 Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @coopukpress