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Keeping your things safe this festive season

18 Dec 2019

It’s that time of year - the season of gifting and hopefully taking some time away for a well-deserved break.

Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when claims spike, with an increase in instances of house and car break-ins or unexpected accidental damage at campgrounds and holiday houses.

"While insurance can help cover damage, or replace a lost belonging, it can’t take away the stress these things cause," says Tim Grafton, Chief Executive Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ).

"But there are some simple steps you can take to help keep your holiday stress free."

Be extra vigilant with safety

"Make sure your valuables aren’t easy to see from outside. Keep any presents out of view until Christmas day and recycle large packaging yourself."

Be sure not to advertise the fact you will be away - don’t announce it on social media and never leave a message on your voicemail.

"It pays to take measures to deter burglars. Lock garages and sheds, ensure open windows have safety catches or security locks, or look at installing security lighting or alarm systems.

"If you have a fancy display of lights outside for Christmas, be careful of running cables through open windows which can increase temptation - instead get an outdoor socket installed by an electrician."

Renting or have house-sitters while you’re away?

"If you’re lucky enough to be going away for a long period, are renting or have friends staying in your home - check your policy and make sure you let your insurance company know. Homes rented via Airbnb and Bookabach may be considered a commercial building and require different cover."

To help identify items if something goes missing or gets broken, the ICNZ also recommends making a detailed list of possessions, taking note of serial and model numbers and taking photos. Let your insurer know if you receive a valuable gift at Christmas so it can be specified on your policy.

Going camping? Protect against the unexpected

Your contents insurance can provide cover for your belongings for often up to 60 days while you’re away, as well as covering your liability if you accidentally cause damage.

"If you’re taking the bikes with you, the third-party liability cover offered through your contents insurance policy could help if you accidentally scratch or damage a car or someone’s property."

ICNZ recommends you take precautions though. "Lock up your valuables, keep them out of sight and lock your car or campervan when you’re not using it. It is riskier having valuables such as your iPad or cell phone in a tent rather than at home so keep out of sight or locked away if you can.

"With instances of flooding becoming more common around this time of year, keep an eye on the weather forecast as well so you can be ready to pack up the tent and head home if sever weather looks to be on its way."