Make sure festive gifts are covered
Expensive gadgets may need more insurance, says Chiara Cavaglieri
Sunday 23 December 2012
If your home is going to be full of the latest gadgets this Christmas, whether it's an e-book reader, an all-singing tablet, or a snazzy smartphone, make sure you are protected. The festive period is a lucrative one for thieves: last December there were 23,000 burglaries, leading to claims totalling £35m, according to the Association of British Insurers.
"A pre-Christmas explosion of e-readers and tablets, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the iPad mini and the Google Nexus 7, as well as a glut of top-of-the-range smartphones, means that even more of us will be carrying around hi-tech gadgets worth hundreds of pounds come January," says Stephen Ebbett, the director of Protect Your Bubble.
With Christmas so close, now is the time to review your home insurance policy and ensure you're fully covered. Many insurers will automatically increase cover over the festive period, but this will vary by provider, so if you don't know, ask. Aviva, for example, tops up cover by an extra £3,000, while the Post Office offers a 10 per cent increase in contents cover during December 2012, as does Lloyds, subject to a maximum £3,000.
"If this isn't included then you should contact your insurer and inform them of the increase in valuable items in your home. It's also essential that any exceptionally expensive items, such as a piece of jewellery, are covered individually," Michael Ossei, a personal finance expert at uSwitch.com.
Even if you do have a temporary boost in cover find out how long this period lasts and then speak to your provider as soon as possible after Christmas to update the value of your household contents.
Home insurance premiums are based on the level of cover and the value of your contents, but if you're undercovered insurers will only pay out a percentage of the actual value if you make a claim.
Several providers and comparison sites have helpful online contents calculators to help you estimate the value accurately. Check the small print of your policy carefully. You need to know what could prevent you from making a claim. For example, you could have a claim turned down if you don't take steps to make your property secure.
Any temporary Christmas boost to cover is only applicable to items at home, so before you take your new gadget outside ensure you have additional protection. A standard contents insurance policy with accidental damage will only cover items at home, so you need "away-from-home cover" or "personal possessions cover" to protect items elsewhere. This should only add around £35 to your annual premium, however, you do need to check a few things. First of all, if you have any new valuables worth over £1,000 you will usually need to inform your insurer so they can list this individually on your policy.
Check whether you have a new-for-old policy, under which your items are replaced, or repaired as new, or a wear-and-tear policy, which will still pay out to replace or repair your items but with a reduction for depreciation. There is usually an excess to pay with both, the amount you pay towards each claim, which can be hundreds of pounds.
You also need to consider the potential impact of losing your no-claims bonus as portable items such as gadgets are more likely to be stolen or damaged, and if you make a claim, you could see your premium shoot up. If you're potentially paying a high excess and losing a generous discount, it may not be an effective way to insure specific items. You can insure items with standalone gadget insurance, which can be fairly cheap.
Insurance2go offers policies for tablets from £2.99 a month which covers theft, accidental damage, water damage, fire damage at home and abroad. The excess payable is £50 for accidental damage and £75 for theft and loss. With Protect Your Bubble you pay from £2.19 for e-readers and tablets (excess of £25, or £50 for iPads).
"Make sure your gadget insurance protects you worldwide against theft, accidental damage, liquid damage and mechanical breakdown outside the manufacturer's warranty," says Mr Ebbett. "To protect data – including e-books, music, photos and other files – back it up. Data back-up options range from online, cloud-based storage services, to USB drives or external hard drives."
Before paying out, however, check you aren't already protected. With smartphones you may be already paying for cover. For example, the Co-operative's Privilege account has perks including mobile insurance.
Protect your presents
Social media If you are going away this Christmas, don't advertise this to burglars on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site.
Locks Double-check that all doors, windows, sheds and garages are locked securely before you leave the house for a Christmas or New Year's Eve party.
Keys Keep spare keys out of sight to prevent burglar's using a hook and wire through your letter box.
Hide gifts Put Christmas presents out of sight, preferably in an attic or loft, instead of under the tree where they are an easy target for burglars.
Rubbish bins Don't leave packaging for your shiny new TV by the rubbish bins - it will only highlight that you something worth stealing.
Photos Take photos and keep serial numbers and receipts of expensive items, putting these safely away as proof of purchase to insurers.
Based on £30,000 contents cover, no children
£134 Legal & General
Debt in Britain: Numbers seeking help on how to cope with mounting bills goes up by more than half in three years
General election 2015: David Cameron's promise brings uncertainty to investors
Bargain Hunter: BT improves its mobile reception with 'incredibly competitive' deals
Have a happy new financial year
Simon Read: 'It went below the radar but you could be eligible for a tax break on your savings'
- 1 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...
Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...
Day In a Page
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000