Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. What’s not to love about the food, time with family and friends, presents and often a much needed holiday escape.
With so much to organise in preparation for the silly season, we can easily be forgiven for treating insurance as an afterthought.
The reality is however, most of the enjoyable aspects of the holiday season present a number of risks for potential insurance claims.
Bearing that in mind, we have put together a list of tips to ensure you avoid a claim this Christmas.
Secure Your Home
Christmas is an extremely popular time to pack up with your family and head away on holiday.
Prior to leaving, there are a number of ways in which you can ensure your home will remain safe while you are away.
- Ensure you lock up everything possible – this includes, doors, garages, sheds, windows
- Put away or secure any items that can be removed from the property such as garden equipment, outdoor furniture or children’s outdoor play equipment
- Turn off any power points or electrical items to reduce the risk of fire
- Ask a neighbour, family member or friend to keep an eye on your property for any suspicious activity
- Do your best to make your house look ‘lived in’ – this may include having a neighbour park their car in your driveway, having your mail collected, your lawns mowed or automatic lights set on timers to discourage thieves
- Make sure you have a current home insurance policy for your property
It’s very easy on holiday to become a little blase when it comes to your personal property and security – your’re relaxed and you’re having a good time! What’s to worry about?
Theft happens on holiday too. It is important that you treat your property in the same way that you would at home to keep your valuables safe. Whether you are staying in a caravan, tent or holiday unit, it is essential that you lock up your campsite as best you can and ensure your valuables are secure.
This includes any recreational equipment such as surfboards or bikes, as they can be very attractive targets for criminals.
Be careful not to leave valuable gifts in your car if at all avoidable. Cars can become very easy targets for theft, particularly in busy car parks over the Christmas period.
Remove the temptation by making sure your purchases are not in plain sight for passers by.
Furthermore, it is very common for families to pack up the car the day before hitting to road on holiday.
If you plan on doing so, it is recommended that you park your car in a garage or behind a secure gate as this again makes your car a target for theft.
Think Twice Before Posting on Social Media
As tempting as it is to check-in to your tropical beach side hotel and post an image of your cocktail at sunset on social media, perhaps hold off until you return.
Now more than ever, we are willing to share more about our lives on social media including our daily movements.
What most of us don’t consider is that we may be placing our homes at a greater risk of break in. Through posting your whereabouts on social media, thieves may be able to ascertain where you live and at what times you will be away from your home.
Review your social media privacy settings to ensure you are only sharing with those who you wish to see your personal updates and disable any automatic location functions to protect your whereabouts online.
Smart Online Shopping
Online shopping is fast becoming the preference for purchasing gifts during the Christmas period to avoid chaotic malls and shopping centres.
When shopping online, there are a number of ways in which you can protect yourself from falling victim to fraud.
Research who exactly you are shopping with, have a good understanding of the product or service you are purchasing, ensure your financial information is being dealt with securely and monitor your bank statements regularily for any unusual transactions.
We have discussed this in further detail in our Smart Online Shopping This Christmas guide.
The Humble Christmas Tree
Yes, that’s right. Even the Christmas tree can pose a risk during the holiday season.
There have been numerous instances where Christmas trees have caught alight and caused major fires within homes.
It is important that you do not overload your power points when arranging Christmas lights and turn them off at the switch when going to bed at night to avoid a potential blaze.
It also pays to give thought about the location of your tree. If you place your tree in a front window of your home or within sight from the street, it may be wise to avoid placing your gifts under the tree until the very last moment as this can also entice thieves to break in.
Adjust Your Policies Accordingly
Christmas is the time for giving and receiving gifts both large and small.
If you are lucky enough to receive some valuable gifts this Christmas, it is recommended that you review your contents insurance policy to account for these new possessions as they may not be covered in an event otherwise.
Finally, take a great amount of care when travelling on the roads this Christmas. Make sure you allow for plenty of rest stops and alternate drivers if possible to avoid fatigue. It is also recommended that you have your car serviced or inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to leaving on your driving holiday, as well as having your tyres checked to be sure they will get you safely to where you need to go.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas!