It isn't just the Grinch who steals Christmas - Insurance - Money - The Independent

It isn't just the Grinch who steals Christmas

'Tis the season to think about home insurance, says Sam Dunn

Full-to-bursting freezers, crates of wine and those expensive presents under the tree are tempting targets for burglars during the festive season. Last December, goods worth £36m were stolen in an estimated 35,000 break-ins.

Full-to-bursting freezers, crates of wine and those expensive presents under the tree are tempting targets for burglars during the festive season. Last December, goods worth £36m were stolen in an estimated 35,000 break-ins.

The average family is set to spend £670 on gifts this year, so it's worth stepping aside from the festive hullabaloo to make sure your home contents policy covers the cost of these extra purchases. While it won't take away the trauma of a break-in, it will at least soften the blow to know you won't be losing out financially.

Whether you actually have to extend the terms of your home contents policy will depend on your generosity and on your existing cover. Not all insurers cover items in the same way but generally they demand higher premiums for those considered "high risk" and expensive, usually jewel-lery, antiques and works of art.

For example, Norwich Union has a £2,000 single-item limit on valuable jewellery. So if a policyholder buys a £3,000 ring as a Christmas present, he or she will pay bigger premiums for full cover against theft. On the other hand, many insurers do not regard popular Christmas gifts such as plasma-screen TVs, camcorders and laptops as high risk, and include these on standard contents policies at no extra cost, regardless of their value.

Of course, you can only sit back and relax if you have enough cover in the first place; many homeowners don't. Research from Sainsbury's Bank reveals that up to 5,000 people suffering break-ins this Christmas will find their claims rebuffed because of inadequate insurance.

"Review your home contents policy if you have a lot of Christmas gifts that are going to stay in the house after the festive period," advises Ray Facer, head of technical services at insurer Legal & General. "Check to see what goods your insurer considers to be high risk, and find out what the single-item limit is."

Thankfully, the onus is not completely on the consumer. Many insurers will, for no extra charge, increase the value of your home contents cover by 10 per cent during the Christmas holiday.

Simple tips to protect your home against burglars include keeping gift-wrapped items and other valuables away from the window and out of sight of prying eyes, says Malcolm Tarling, spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Packaging from electrical and other expensive goods left outside your home can also encourage thieves. Make sure you put this in black sacks before leaving it out for the dustmen.

If your home will be empty for several days while you visit friends or family at Christmas, ask neighbours to keep an eye on it, and use timer switches to turn lights on after dark.

Keep your insurer's emergency number by the phone, and don't leave expensive goods in the car when you're out Christmas shopping. Most car insurance policies won't pay out more than £100 in total in the case of theft. With this in mind, you might want to have personal possession cover. Bolted on to your home contents policy, this insures items such as clothes and CDs taken out of the house, up to at least £1,000. More expensive items will need to be named on the policy, and you should expect to pay a higher premium to cover them.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week