For most of us Christmas is a wonderful time of goodwill, full of exciting events and opportunities for seeing families and friends. However, there are downsides to the festive season with numerous distractions, the risks of over-indulgence, adverse weather and the dishonest few looking for criminal opportunities. Read our 12 tips and protect your valuables over the holidays.
Protect against Theft:
Roughly 60% of standard contents insurance claims are due to human activity rather than natural circumstances and the majority of this is theft. Art and collections are also susceptible to damage during thefts, even if they are not the items taken in a burglary.
Make sure that you make proper arrangements to receive any deliveries you are expecting. Don’t have things left on your doorstep.
Try not to advertise that you are away. Turn down or switch off the ring-tone on your landline. Cancel milk, newspapers and any other deliveries. Set a timer to switch lights on and off. Try not to tell too many people when you are away but do ask a trusted neighbour to watch over your property.
Don’t leave piles of presents under your Christmas tree if it can be seen from outside. If you are concealing large, expensive gifts until Christmas Day (eg bicycles in a garden shed), make sure they are secure.
Remember that your rubbish can advertise what you now have in your home. Don't leave the packing materials for expensive items or from specialist dealers outside for long periods, if you want the bin men to take them away put them outside at the last moment.
Protect against water damage:
Escape of water causes in the region of10% of damage to contents as a whole, but this statistic increases significantly when looking specifically at art and collectables.
If you are going away for Christmas, leave your heating on low to avoid burst water pipes. Water is one of the most devastating causes of claims to collections in the home, far exceeding theft.
Protect against fire damage:
While damage by fire is rarer, it is devastating, and the risk of fire increases significantly during the Christmas holiday period.
Check your Christmas tree lights conform to British Standard (BS EN 60598). Ensure you switch them off before leave your home unattended or before going to bed. Always use a Residual Current Device [RCD] on outdoor electrical equipment. These devices instantly switch off the power if there is a fault and can be found in most DIY stores.
If you have an open fire, before you light your Yule Log ensure that you have had the chimney swept and the flu inspected. If you are leaving an open fire make sure that no sparks or embers can fall onto carpets or rugs and put a fire-guard in front of the hearth.
Make sure that any seasonal cigars are extinguished properly.
Ensure that you have tested your smoke alarms. Never remove the batteries from these to power presents.
Avoid cooking under the influence of too much alcohol! The majority of fires start in the kitchen, so this is a high risk area. Don’t leave cooking unattended and remember to turn off hobs and ovens when you have finished cooking.
Never leave candles unattended and keep Christmas decorations, cards and wrapping paper and your art and collections away from candles, fires and lights.
Insure your valuables:
Art and collectables should be cheaper to insure than general contents as they suffer less claims. However, they need to be insured more specifically and with more appropriate covers.
Make sure new purchases (and gifts) are automatically included under your insurance policy. InsureMyStuff offers immediate online insurance coverage for single items or collections, with premiums from as little as £3.65 a month, so it is not too late to insure your valuables before the holidays!