Christmas time is the busy season for burglars with a higher chance of homeowners being away from home on holidays, out shopping or socialising with friends and family. Insurance Council figures show that there is traditionally a steep rise in burglary related claims in the December-January period with the last 21 day festive season claims costing $414,000 per day. The last Christmas period (20 Dec 2015 to 10 Jan 2016) saw 2,654 burglary-related insurance claims worth $8.7 million from private houses and commercial premises compared with 2,085 claims worth $6.15m for the same period in 2014/15. Two burglary claims in this last Christmas period were for over $100,000 each and 183 burglary claims over $10,000 each. This compares to one over $100,000 and 137 over $10,000 for the same period the previous year. “No one wants to become a burglary statistic and so we are urging people to see their property from a burglar’s point of view. Taking 10 minutes now to think about how you can better protect your property from the increased risks of burglary and loss at this time of year could save a lot of heartache later,” said Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton. Here are some basic common sense actions to protect your property:
- Don’t advertise that you are away, including on social media. Leave some lights to come on at night with timers, arrange someone to collect your mail and stop your newspaper. Make it appear that there is someone at home.
- Don’t leave a phone voicemail saying that you’re away.
- Check door locks and windows stays.
- Check the security of your garage and outbuildings.
- Have sensor lights fitted near entry points.
- Record serial numbers of expensive items on the SNAP database (www.snap.org.nz). Take photos of your items and upload them.
- Lock away jewellery, portable electronic devices and any other valuables.
In addition, it’s important to check with your insurer what you are, or are not, covered for under your home and contents policy if:
- you are away from your home for a longer period
- friends are staying in your home while you are away
- you are planning to make your home available for a house swap.