Christmas is unfortunately the time of year when claims often spike, with an increase in burglaries and unexpected accidental damage at campgrounds and holiday houses.

We know that one in five Kiwis don’t bother taking out insurance to cover their contents. But content insurance doesn’t just cover you for theft – it’s an important part of recovering from natural disasters, fires and other unforeseen events. It also covers you if you accidentally damage someone else’s property because it includes liability cover, like knocking over a poorly placed barbeque or damaging someone’s property at a campground.

To help keep festive spirits high this year ICNZ has compiled a checklist to help minimise the risk of your home being broken into over the summer, and to ensure you have the right cover in place so you can get things back to normal should the unexpected happen.

Burglary prevention tips:

  • Make sure your home always looks lived in, even when you’re away – ask neighbours you trust to water your plants and clear your mailbox and set your lights or TV to go on and off in the evening on timers.
  • Never publicise that you’re going away on holiday – that includes on your social media, email out of office messages or on your answer phone.
  • Don’t leave valuables on display or easily visible from windows. Think about where you place your Christmas tree and if it and the presents under it can be seen from your front windows.
  • Have an alarm installed – many insurers offer premium discounts for properties that have alarms.
  • Install automatic security lighting. Lights that come on when they sense movement are a good choice for external areas. Don’t place sensors for lights low enough that they can easily be tampered with.
  • Lock garages and sheds, put away wheelie bins and trim plants and trees near doors and windows. This removes tools burglars can use to break in and places they can hide.
  • Close and lock all doors and windows when you’re out and while you’re asleep. If you must leave windows open, make sure they’re on tamper-proof security locks.
  • Install security cameras or webcams in easy-to-spot locations. You can connect most cameras to your phone wirelessly so you can see what’s happening at your house wherever you are.
  • Don’t run electrical cords through open-windows or doors to outdoor light displays – open doors and windows are tempting for burglars. Have an electrician install an outdoor socket instead.
  • Don’t leave boxes for large or expensive gifts in the driveway for rubbish collection – this advertises what new possessions you have to potential-thieves. Take them to the tip yourself.
  • Register your valuable possessions on www.snap.org.nz, the NZ Police’s free, online asset list. If you are robbed, having your possessions registered on Snap will make it easier for the Police to track them down. It’ll also help when you make a contents insurance claim.

Holiday insurance tips:

  • Let your insurance company know if you are going to be away from your house for a long period, have friends staying in your home while you’re away or are planning to list your home with services such as Airbnb or Bookabach.
  • Check your house and contents policies are up-to-date and not due to run out over the holiday period.
  • If you’re heading away camping, check with your insurer to make sure your contents will be covered when you take them to the campsite. And, if you have a campervan either take out campervan contents insurance or check if your existing home and contents policies provide cover for your campervan contents.
  • Consider turning the water off to dishwashers, washing machines and some fridges to prevent a flood from going undetected while you’re away.
  • Make a detailed list of possessions, including serial/model numbers and photos. Keep this with a copy of your policy somewhere separate to your possessions.
  • Mark ‘big ticket’ items with a code or name to prove ownership. If these marks are hard to remove, they may also deter thieves.
  • Review your cover after Christmas to ensure any new valuables you may have been gifted are covered.
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