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Protecting Your Income
21 Nov 2016
Top Tips for Buy-To-Let Landlords
14 Jan 2017

Christmas insurance claims – What are the top 12?

The Christmas holidays should be a time of peace and harmony, but for many homeowners there are risks around every corner that threaten the peace.

These risks come in many guises such as an accident in the home, which could really destroy any festive cheer, or a break in, as theft claims tend to be at their highest in December.

One insurance company has listed 12 of the most common types of accidents and incidents it deals with over the Christmas period, and in doing so is hoping to stop any of them ruining your festive holiday.

They say that as we spend more time in our homes at Christmas than at any other time of year. As such, there are more people around and more hustle and bustle which combined with the fact that we cook and drink more means that there are more possibilities for accidents to happen.

The incidents in the list frequently happen over Christmas, and while our advice to avoid them might be obvious, they are worth considering to prevent your Christmas being ruined.

So, in reverse order:

12. Feet Through The Ceiling

Every year before and after Christmas, people venture up into their lofts to get their decorations down. Insurance companies get several claims each year where people accidentally step between the joists in their attics and put a foot through the floor, damaging the ceiling of the room below. Make sure you go up to your loft prepared, take a torch if you don’t have light up there and only step on joists if it doesn’t have proper floorboards.

11. Candles Burning

Candles create a cosy atmosphere around Christmas, but they are still a naked flame and so whenever you light a candle, take care. Place it on a stable surface. Make sure there is nothing nearby that could catch fire in the flame and never leave a candle unattended. Finally make sure you extinguish them before going to bed, and also watch out for the melted wax, it can ruin furniture and carpets if it’s spilt.

10. Parents Tripping

Amongst all the excitement of Christmas Day, little ones aren’t usually bothered about tidying up after themselves. If you’ve got children, there will undoubtedly be new toys left around the house. While stepping on a Lego brick without shoes on might cause you to cry out, it shouldn’t cause too much damage, but tripping over a mis-placed Hatchimal on the stairs might. Keep an eye out for haphazard gifts, and persuade the kids to keep their toys in one pile.

9. Freezers Failing

Unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do to prevent your freezer giving up the ghost before Christmas, and if it does it could cause a lot of hassle and disappointment. Insurance companies deal with several claims each year where the full Christmas shop is spoiled and has to be thrown out. If your fridge freezer is on its last legs, consider getting a new one before Christmas, or ask your neighbours to keep your shopping in theirs.

8. Falls Off Ladders

This is another type of accident that usually happens when putting Christmas decorations up or taking them down. Inside the home, the cause is often an unsecured stepladder with someone tiptoeing on the top step to reach the corner of the room. Outside it could be a normal ladder being used to put up or take down lights. Either way, never go up a ladder without someone else around, and make sure the bottom of the ladder is stable.

7. Forgotten Cooking

Good food makes Christmas special, and a glass or two of your favourite alcohol can provide a bit of festive cheer. However, cooking while drunk; not such a good idea. It’s only too easy to forget about food in the oven when you decide to cook after one or two drinks. Not only could you damage your cooker, pots and pans; you could start a fire, particularly if you fall asleep.

6. Faulty Fairy Lights

Faulty fairy lights can cause fires and on Christmas trees, surrounded by wrapped gifts, small fires can soon develop into major ones. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598). Make sure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or when you leave the house. And of course never overload a plug socket with too many appliances.

5. Burst Pipes

Although we rarely have a white Christmas in the UK these days it doesn’t mean temperatures don’t drop during December and in freezing temperatures, water pipes can burst. A burst pipe can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and cause you to have to leave your home. You can start by taking some time to protect your pipes from bursting by lagging them. If you are planning on leaving your house empty for any length of time over the festive period, you can either leave your heating on low, around 12 degrees, or turn off the water supply at the mains and drain the system.

4. Stolen Bikes

What better present on Christmas morning than a shiny new bike? But it’s a sad fact that unattended new bikes attract thieves. You can help keep the thieves away by buying a secure lock and making sure that your son or daughter uses it whenever they leave their bike unattended. At home, make sure they don’t leave it lying around in the garden and if it’s kept in the shed, make sure that has a strong lock too.

3. Spilled Wine Glasses

One of the most common accidents insurance companies see at any time of year is red wine spilled on carpets and furniture. The culprit could be a pet, an excited child or a tipsy adult, but the result can be extensive damage. Over the Christmas period there’s likely to be more drinking at home than usual, so make sure you stand glasses and bottles on a table, and well away from small children and pets.

2. Dancing Adults

We’ve all seen the videos of excited adults dancing around the living room to Christmas music. Whether it is Dad, Mum, Gran or Uncle, they can be a menace and their actions could result in a broken chair or window. We don’t want to be party poopers, but if someone is getting a little bit over excited with their dancing, you might want to sit them down. If that doesn’t work, at least make sure the room is cleared of any breakables.

1. Thief Taking All Of The Gifts

This is possibly the saddest Christmas claim of all, and unfortunately it does happen. Criminals know that at Christmas, people are likely to have lots of new gadgets and gifts at home. The situation is often made worse in the lead up to Christmas as our homes are often left empty in the evenings, so always leave a light on when you go out. You should also never ever leave presents in view of passers-by and if you’ve ordered things to be delivered, don’t leave a note telling the delivery driver you are out. After Christmas, don’t leave boxes for expensive gifts outside.

One last tip from us is to not let your home security slip in the New Year. In the last few years insurance companies have seen an increase in the number of thefts in early January which could be due to thieves targeting homes full of new gifts and gadgets given at Christmas.

Post courtesy of Property Reporter.

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