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Christmas covered: 5 steps to protect your belongings from fire, theft or loss

Christmas covered: 5 steps to protect your belongings from fire, theft or loss

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It’s easy to forget the extra level of home cover needed at Christmas to make sure that your insurer will pay out in the event of your home being damaged or your presents being stolen or lost in transit. Here we offer some practical advice on keeping your property and possessions protected this holiday season…

1. Hide valuables in transit

You’ve just been on a mammoth shopping spree and successfully managed to tick off your gift list for the whole family. Result! The last thing you want or need now is for a thief to spy the goodies in your car and break in and take the lot. To be on the safe side, stick all your purchases in the boot, hidden well out of sight and remember to lock the door.

If the worst does happen, your car insurance policy may pay out up to a limit – usually around £100. Or, if you have personal possessions cover included in your home contents insurance then some of these items could be covered by your home insurance if you have personal possessions cover included on your policy, but again, limits vary, so check your policy documents to make sure you’re covered.

2. Ensure your presents are covered

You’ve done all your Christmas shopping, the presents are wrapped under the tree and you’re feeling very satisfied with yourself. But before you sit back and relax with a mince pie and a wee glass of Baileys, it’s worth giving your insurer a quick ring to see if your contents insurance will cover all your holiday extras.

Some insurers automatically add 10% increased contents cover at no extra charge to your home contents insurance policy during the month of December to cover the value of presents, food and drink, but not all do, so for peace of mind best to check and take out extra insurance if necessary.

3. Be outdoor decoration savvy

It’s no longer just the inside of our homes that we like to deck with boughs of holly and metres of fairy lights, in recent years there’s been a real trend for outdoor decorations too. If hanging outdoor lights, then opt for battery or solar-operated lights rather than plug-in ones. This is because if you need to feed a cable through a door or window and someone breaks in your insurance might not pay out because you didn’t leave your home properly locked and secure.

On that note, try to keep piles of presents out of view of prying eyes by storing them away from the windows. Also, don’t leave expensive present packaging outside or openly in bins – as this will only tempt burglars to break in!

4. Fireproof your home

Creating a festive atmosphere in your home will inevitably mean putting up fairy lights, decorations, a Christmas tree and lighting candles around the home. But don’t put yourself and your family at risk by creating a potential fire hazard.

To keep your home safe, ensure you don’t overload sockets with plugs, turn off fairy lights and blow out candles when you leave the room and avoid hanging decorations near candles. If you’ve got a real tree in your house ensure you keep it watered and away from fireplaces and heat vents to prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

5. Check with your guests

One of the nicest things about Christmas is getting family and loved ones together, under one roof, to celebrate the season’s glad tidings. The last thing you want is the stress of a guest losing or damaging their belongings at your home and finding their insurance won’t cover the cost of the damage.

Check with your insurer if your policy covers the cost of visitors’ personal effects, and, if not, let them know so they can ensure their belongings are fully covered before they come to stay. A sure-fire way to avoid any unnecessary drama!