With the evenings drawing in homeowners are being urged to take extra precautions in order to protect their homes and property as the increased hours of darkness could spark a surge in unwelcome visitors.
For its part Halifax Home Insurance recorded 2,832 burglary claims last winter, paying out a total of more than £20m, with the average claim costing £1,727. In fact winter claims last year cost 12% more compared to summer as thieves on the hunt for an easy target used cover of darkness to their advantage asserted the group.
Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager, Halifax Insurance, said: “Tt’s important to look at ways to step up security to avoid falling victim. Checking your insurance cover is a small but significant step towards keeping your home safe, and will go a long way to cover any potential financial losses. Items of sentimental value may not be replaceable, so preventative action will help you to protect the things you value most.”
Top tips to protect your home and valuables:
- Keep doors and windows locked, even when at home
- Security lights can alert you to people approaching the house, and gravel driveways make it possible to hear them coming too
- Have a British standard approved burglar alarm installed, and always set it when leaving your home unoccupied and also at night. One which has a direct link to the police is a good idea
- High walls, spiky railings and prickly bushes around a property can make it more difficult to break in, and also harder to get away if burglars are disturbed
- Keep tools and ladders that can be used to break in to the home locked away
- When going on holiday, timer switches on lights can make it less obvious that the house is empty. Consider asking a trusted friend or neighbour to check in and collect any mail, as piles of letters can be a clue that there is nobody around
- Marking your property with a UV pen or etching your postcode on metal items such as bikes and tools means that if it is stolen, there is a greater chance of it being recovered by police
- Make sure your home buildings and contents insurance is up to date and includes the right level of cover for your needs
- Don’t leave keys hidden under door mats, in flower pots or in other ‘safe’ places – burglars know where to look