It’s a wonderful time of the year… for burglars

The cost of Christmas gifts can mount up and many households could have more valuables in them

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Christmas is coming and toy retailers may well be getting fat if a recent report by the NPD Group is anything to go by.

Sales of more expensive toys have grown by 6 per cent in the year to mid-October. Parents are apparently buying more toys with a price tag of over £50 as electronic devices such as the pre-school tablet, the LeapPad Ultra, continue to be a hit with our kids.

Gadgets are expected to be big sellers this Christmas full stop. John Lewis has predicted that the iPad Mini will be its best selling tech product with the Samsung Tab 3 and Google Nexus tablets not far behind. The retailer anticipates selling one tablet every fifteen seconds over the festive period. That’s some serious cash that consumers are spending given these tablets range in cost between £125 and £300.

The cost of gifts can mount up and in the run-up to Christmas many households around the country may have more valuables in them than at any other time of the year, particularly if gadgets are on the wish lists of loved ones big and small.

And as homes start to fill up with Christmas gifts, it fast becomes the most wonderful time of the year as far as burglars are concerned so it’s important to make sure your clients review their home insurance policies to make sure they’re up to scratch if the worse happens and they are targeted by burglars.

Their contents insurance protects them of course against theft, attempted theft, fire, flood, water damage and other potential problems depending on the extent of the policy, and the price they pay for their cover depends on the cumulative value of the contents.

But by the time your client has finished their Christmas shopping and sat down for a well-earned mince pie and glass of mulled wine, the value of their total contents may well have gone up by several hundred pounds which won’t have been factored in when they took out the policy. So what do they do?

Some insurers automatically increase contents insurance during the season of good will. The extra cover and period will vary, as will terms and conditions, so I would encourage you to get in touch with your household clients to check their policy and see if it needs tweaking to make sure they’re adequately covered.

It would be a good idea to remind them that if they’ve been particularly generous, they may need to list items over £1,000 individually as most insurers request this. And of course if they’re lucky enough to get the latest tablet or smartphone or watch themselves, it’s worth reminding them of the need to update their policy accordingly to make sure their new valuable item is covered in or away from the home depending on the extent of their cover.

Equally important, do remind them that it is their responsibility to ensure their home is secure. If they fail to take ‘reasonable care’, they may well find any claim invalid even if extra cover is in place. All the usual common sense checks such as making sure windows and doors are just as valid over the Christmas holiday period as they are throughout the rest of the year.

With burglaries increasing by almost a quarter during the winter months, having the right level of home insurance could mean the difference between “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” should your client fall victim to opportunistic thieves.