Insurers warn householders to keep Christmas gifts secure
With UK households expected to spend around £8.5 billion on Christmas presents this year, according to a survey by Tesco Bank, insurers are warning consumers to keep their gifts secure.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that insurers received £35m of claims for the 23,000 burglaries which took place in December last year.
Shoppers need to be vigilant about security in their cars as well as in their homes.
The value of vehicle contents increases to around £263 a trip at this time of year.
Cars with gifts on view are a prime target for thieves, and it is safer to place them in the boot, where they are out of sight and, of course, doors should be locked.
Even in the boot there is no guarantee that gifts will be safe and M&S Bank suggests that motorists should check their car insurance policy before they go Christmas shopping, to ensure that contents are adequately insured.
Neil Rogers, head of insurance at M&S Bank, said: “Choosing and buying Christmas presents is a fun part of the festive build up for many people – seeing the lights and decorations, and finding the perfect gift really gets people in the Christmas spirit.
“Unfortunately this time of year does mean the car boot can become a target for opportunistic thieves, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got adequate vehicle content cover for your Christmas shopping.”
Motorists should take mobile phones and other mobile devices with them, rather than leave them in a vehicle.
Unattended homes are also targeted by thieves, especially if presents are placed under a Christmas tree where they can be seen through the window.
Packaging should be carefully disposed of, as boxes left outside for the dustbin collection can advertise to burglar that there are attractive goods inside the house.
Shoppers should also be vigilant over their purse and belongings in crowded shops, where thieve may be operating.
Malcolm Tarling, spokesman for the ABI, said: “Thieves love Christmas. They know that there are plenty of easy pickings to be had this time of year.
“Being vigilant and taking a few common sense precautions can ensure that you do not remember this Christmas for the wrong reasons.”