Christmas is the time for good cheer and jollity, but for some people, it is the time for dealing with theft and break-ins to their homes.
While there is nothing more uplifting than getting in the Christmas spirit. We tend to get caught up in the festivities and forget to take necessary precautions in protecting our homes. Christmas time is when your house is most vulnerable to break-ins. It is the time of year when our homes are often unoccupied. According to research from PhoneWatch a quarter of homes are left vacant on December evenings, making them the perfect target for thieves.
Households typically store €500 worth of presents during Christmas. Not to mention all the pre-existing valuables you have scattered around the house. It is so easy to forget to take basic precautions in keeping your home safe over Christmas, so we thought we would give you a hand. Follow these easy-to-implement safety tips to protect your home this Christmas.
Make sure you keep your general valuables, as well as your gifts safe this Christmas. Try and get creative with your hiding places. A well-versed thief will be aware of the usual hiding spots such as the attic, the shed or the wardrobe. They may not be as easy to fool as the fellas from Home Alone! Try your hardest to think of the last place you would look for something valuable, maybe the fridge, a cereal box or underneath the floorboards? And hide them there. It’s not foolproof but it’s much safer than hiding your valuables in obvious places.
A surprising 59% of homes are not alarmed when unoccupied. We are so busy rushing about, kids coming and going, that it is easy to forget to switch on the alarm every time we go out. However, it is absolutely vital to do so. If you do not, it can cost you an insurance claim, especially if you have been given a premium discount based on having a monitored alarm. If you make a claim, the insurer will check the alarm was set and triggered, and can refuse to pay your claim if it is not. So make sure everyone in the family remembers to turn it on if they are the last ones to leave the house. If your home does not have an alarm installed, make it your mission to install one as soon as possible. They are important in protecting your home year-round, not just for the Christmas period.
Heading out or even away over the Christmas? Want to share your experiences with everyone on social media? It’s probably best not to. Especially if your account is open to public viewing. You need to be as vigilant as possible around the Christmas period as burglars are waiting for an opportunity to break into your home. What better way for them to confirm your absence than by seeing your location on social media? We’re not suggesting you refrain from documenting your festive fun, but maybe wait until the following day to post pictures on your platforms (also avoids having to delete unwanted pics taken the night before!).
Nothing creates Christmas ambience quite like lighting cinnamon scented candles. But safety must come first, especially when there are children around. Use pretty lanterns to put candles in, or place them in the fireplace, surrounded by wood with a fire-guard in front. Make sure your tinsel and other decorations have approved fire safety/CE marks. Christmas trees and outdoor lights should be switched off at night, preferably with the sockets switched off. Apart from anything else, it saves on your electricity bill. It is vital to ensure you organize a chimney sweep before you ignite the fire. Also, don’t forget to have your boiler serviced ahead of the cold snap.
Johnathan Hehir, MD of Insuremyhouse.ie, said: “Some home insurance policies give an automatic uplift in contents cover, typically 10pc, at certain key times, such as weddings and Christmas”. So if your contents are insured for €25,000, it might typically go to €27,500 for a short period.
Also, if you are going away this Christmas, check the weather forecast. It might be worth leaving the heating on at a low level to avoid burst pipes.
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