Christmas has to be one of our favourite times of the year – the weather’s warm, there’s lots to do with friends and family, we get to eat lots of yummy food and of course, all those presents.

But Christmas can also be a time where opportunistic thieves are about, so check out these tips for keeping your home safe and secure – especially during the day when you’re out and about or while you’re away on holiday.

Is your home locked up tight and looking lived-in?

Be extra-vigilant with your locking up over the holiday period – that includes windows, side gates, garages and garden sheds. A burglar alarm is the most effective way to ward off thieves, and sensor lights are great too. If you’re heading away on holiday, leave the curtains open and get a neighbour to collect your mail and newspapers – you want to leave the impression that you’re still about.

One final tip – it seems obvious, but don’t leave a spare key out. We tend to have a blind spot when it comes to this, thinking we’re clever hiders when we’re really not, leaving them in obvious places that burglars can find in a couple of minutes or less.

Online over-sharing is (too) daring

We love to share holiday plans, photos and celebrations on social media sites, but over-sharer beware. Friends aren’t the only ones who could be getting an insight into when you’re leaving your house unoccupied, or all the expensive gifts you’ve got inside.

Don’t flash your Christmas gifts around

Empty boxes that advertise what was inside are a beacon for burglars, telling them there are great things to be found in your house to steal. Make sure you put these boxes in your recycling or rubbish bin, not lying around outside or at the kerb. Likewise – don’t leave Christmas presents visible through a window inside your home.

Going away for more than 60 days? Call us to stay covered

Did you know that if you’re heading away on a long holiday, you may no longer be covered by your home and contents insurance? Unless your house is noted by us as a holiday home, you’ll need to have a prior written confirmation in order to keep your home covered when you’re away for 60 consecutive days. Otherwise cover is automatically suspended for the time you’re away until your home is occupied again.

Check your contents insurance policy is up-to-date

Make sure you’re insured for an amount that will cover your contents – and if you have particularly valuable items, that they’ve been specified on your policy. It’s also a good idea to have a list of all your valuables and keep proofs of purchase. Taking a photo of the item and the receipt is a quick and easy way to do it and can help with the claim if you do have the bad luck to be burgled.

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