Commentators typically warn of the threat of theft over the Christmas season, with present-stuffed stockings, long nights and empty homes making for rich pickings for potential thieves. However, analysis of AXA’s home insurance claims over a 12 month period* has revealed that the Christmas period is one of the quietest periods for thefts – in fact there were fewer claims for theft on Christmas Day 2013 than on any other day that year.
The average number of theft claims made to AXA from 23 to 31 December was 39 per cent lower per day compared to the rest of the year, and on Christmas day there were 69 per cent fewer claims than the average for 2013.
The average value of these claims was £3,149 each, compared to £2,693 for the rest of the year.
Further analysis showed that Christmas brings an increased risk of other dangers; here are other perils that homeowners should look out for this festive period:
Claims for accidental damage saw a significant spike in the days preceding Christmas in 2013, with 42 per cent more claims than average on 23 December and a 36 per cent increase on 24 December 2013. The average value of these claims was £563 and £625 respectively. The value of all accidental damage claims during the ‘Christmas Week’ of 23 to 31 December totalled in excess of £700,000.
Christmas typically sees a higher than average number of claims for fire damage, which are more than twice as likely during the Christmas week (23-31 December) than the rest of the year – an increase of 105 per cent. The average value of fire claims over the Christmas period in 2013 was £3,209 each, but these claims can easily exceed £50,000.
Sean Walkden, head of household claims at AXA commented: “While it is still important to take sensible precautions, this research goes against popular belief, and sheds some interesting light on what homeowners need to watch out for if they’re to have a perfect Christmas.
“If something does happen, it’s reassuring to know that home insurance covers a wide range of eventualities – an overexcited child knocking over your new TV could be covered as accidental damage, for example.”
Sean Walkden advises that basic precautions can help homeowners avoid a disaster this Christmas, suggesting the following:
“Fires are thankfully rare, making up a very small percentage of our overall home insurance claims, but don’t let one ruin your Christmas. If you have a working fireplace in your house, make sure you fit a fire guard, and don’t leave a fire unattended. Make sure your chimney is regularly swept to remove soot and any blockages. ”
“Our research shows that thefts are less likely over Christmas, but you should still avoid advertising your presents to opportunistic burglars: packaging for expensive items is a giveaway, so be discreet when you dispose of it. If you’re really organised and have all your presents wrapped, make sure they’re not visible to anyone looking in from the outside.”
“Christmas can mean long nights out socialising or even days spent away from home. Consider fitting motion-sensitive lights to make your house look like it is occupied, and if away for a number of days, ask a relative or neighbour to keep an eye on the property for you.”
“It’s a good idea to keep a record of expensive items for insurance purposes. When the initial excitement dies down, take the opportunity to take a photo of anything valuable that you might have received, and store it online on your email account or a cloud-based storage system. If you’re lucky enough to receive items of very high value, such as jewellery, you may need to notify your insurer. Check your policy wording for details.”
“If you do need to make a claim, get in touch with your insurer so that they can provide advice and assistance.”