Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill to all — but does that really extend to the burglars who’d love to break into your home and steal your property? Traditionally, burglars love Christmas. All those valuable presents lying around, with people either too busy with preparations or else having too much fun to think about security — it’s a perfect opportunity.
So what can you do to ruin a burglar’s Christmas?
- Tear up any envelopes or packaging with your name and address on it before you throw it away. Criminals may snoop in your bins to find information that will allow them to clone your identity.
- Keep presents away from the windows and out of view — especially if they’re unwrapped, which would enable burglars to check out what’s valuable.
- Always double lock your doors and windows when you go out, and invest in an alarm. But remember — an alarm isn’t just for Christmas.
- If you’re going away for Christmas, don’t make it too obvious, such as leaving your suitcases in full view or marking it prominently on a calendar visible through the window. And don’t announce it on social media, either — that could be a reason for the insurer’s loss adjuster to turn down your insurance claim, if you do get burgled.
- Join your local Neighbourhood Watch, and display the fact prominently in your window.
- Don’t put up a “Beware of the Dog” sign. While this might seem intimidating, it actually tells the burglar that the dog has the run of the house, meaning there’s no alarm.
What if You Have Cash at Home?
Theft of presents in a burglary will normally be covered in an insurance claim, providing you haven’t invited it through negligence. But what if the burglar takes cash that’s lying around the place?
You might expect cash not to be a big problem any more, but actually its use has grown during the cost-of-living crisis, especially among younger people. In particular, the habit of “cash stuffing” has increased. This is where you divide your cash between different pots or envelopes, representing different parts of your household budget.
If a burglar makes off with your cash, it can be very hard to prove. The good news is that the loss adjuster will often take your word for it, although they may ask to see bank balances or photos. The bad news is that the amount they’ll pay out is very limited — sometimes as little as £100. The most common payout range is £200-£500.
If you’re likely to be keeping substantial amounts of cash at home over Christmas (or at any time), it’s important to go through your policy, preferably with your insurance broker, to find out its position on cash. A few policies offer cover of up to £5,000, but you have to know where to look. And, if possible, always keep any cash on the premises securely locked up.
Allied Claims would like to wish you a happy and burglary-free Christmas — and an unhappy one to the burglars.
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