The festive season is not only the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s an exceptionally prosperous time for burglars.
With expensive gifts on display, unmanned outdoor ornaments and many homeowners out visiting family and friends; homes are a potential treasure trove for thieves, with your precious valuables including the beautifully wrapped gifts you spent hours searching for (or mere minutes online – we’re not judging) as the ultimate jackpot.
Now, you don't need to go full Kevin McAllister (if you haven’t seen Home Alone and therefore do not understand this reference…go and watch it now!), but there are a number of non-slap-stick measures you can take to protect your home. Our LV= home insurance team have come up with some useful tips for you.
Yes. For burglars, stumbling upon a home with a pile of presents in plain sight is quite literally a window of opportunity for them. So, let’s spoil their plans by keeping gifts out of view – it’ll stop curious kids and prying partners trying to figure out what you got them too!
It might, so keep your plans discreet – don’t tell everyone on Facebook and Twitter that you’re about to leave the country for two weeks, or that your home will be empty until the New Year. You might be able to trust your friends, but do you really know who else is reading?
Security is key (excuse the pun), so if you’ve got a garage or a shed in the garden, make sure it’s securely locked so that burglars can’t lay their hands on tools, ladders or other items that could help them break into your home. A sturdy padlock is an effective deterrent, as are motion detector lights and CCTV cameras.
It may feel a bit 007, but you might consider buying an ultraviolet marker pen to personalise all your belongings with your postcode and house number. Marking your belongings may put burglars off, as it makes items harder to sell on. It can also help police investigate and prosecute criminals.
If you’re going to be away from home for a while, set up light timers to switch on at times you'd usually be in. You can do the same for radios and TVs, so it looks like someone’s regularly in. You may also want to leave the heating on low or drain your water system to avoid freezing pipes and condensation.
There are some people who you actually do want popping in when you’re away; ask friends, family or neighbours to check on your house every now and again. This way, they can collect your mail, feed the cats, open the curtains - and if they pick up on any suspicious behaviour, they can report it. Visitors will also help add to the pretence that someone is home.
Well, if your home contents insurance is with LV=, your level of cover over the festive period increases by 10% to protect all the extra stuff you've got at home – like Christmas presents, gadgets and decorations. LV= will even cover theft from outbuildings, but please think twice before storing gifts anywhere other than locked safely in your home!