Get a better-insured home than the Osbournes

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The Independent Online

The Ozzy Osbourne burglary drama has prompted a flood of advice from insurers on how to make homes safer, coupled with warnings that millions of us are either under-insured or not insured at all.

The Ozzy Osbourne burglary drama has prompted a flood of advice from insurers on how to make homes safer, coupled with warnings that millions of us are either under-insured or not insured at all.

Thieves broke into the Osbournes' Buckinghamshire mansion. They escaped with jewellery worth £2m after the ageing hell-raiser grappled with one of the intruders and held him in a head-lock.

The jewellery was said to be uninsured as it was not locked in a safe. This is often a condition of insuring high-value items. Cilla Black also recently lost around £1m in jewellery this year after a raid on her home, near the Osbournes', that was not covered by insurance as she was adjudged not to have adequate window locks.

Howard Posner, the chief executive officer of Halifax General Insurance, part of HBOS, said: "High-profile robberies are just the tip of the iceberg. Every year thousands of people are burgled, only to find they are either inadequately insured or completely uninsured."

Gev Lynott, the director of financial services at Asda, said: "We all have valuables that are irreplaceable, so we urge people to keep their valuables out of sight or lock them in a safe. We also advise people to make sure they take sufficient precautions when leaving their homes empty this Christmas, even for short periods, and to check they are covered for the full value of goods in their home, particularly over the Christmas period, when new gifts arrive. It's important to make sure your home is fitted with the right door- and window-locks."

Home Office statistics show that burglaries rise by 20 per cent on average in the weeks before and after Christmas. The Home Office advises:

*Keep presents out of sight until last thing on Christmas Eve and make sure outbuildings are secure if they are used to store larger presents.

*Take the frame numbers of new bicycles and the serial numbers of new electrical equipment.

*Dispose of packaging carefully. Empty boxes advertise that you have new goods.

*If you go out for the evening, turn on the lights and the radio.

*Don't leave curtains open.

*Be extra-careful about locking doors and windows.

*If you go away for the holiday period use an automatic timer for lights. Cancel newspaper and milk deliveries.

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