What to watch out for this Christmas

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No one wants to be the victim of either burglars or the weather at Christmas, especially as it’s a time when the contents of many homes are worth much more than usual.Christmas hazards

A house full of presents, wine, food and other goodies, makes a great target for thieves and burglaries hit their highest annual level during the festive season.

And as we’ve seen in recent years the weather can be atrocious, causing burst pipes, broken boilers and flood damage, with further potential to ruin celebrations.

But if the worst does happen, can you be certain your insurance will cover you at a time when your home is potentially stuffed with more valuable items than it might otherwise be? Should you be thinking about increasing your claim limits and paying for additional cover?

 

The effect of Christmas on total claim limits

When homes are full of presents, potentially including those of family members who are staying, the total value of your home’s contents can shoot up and exceed the maximum claim amount allowed on your policy.

Although many standard home insurance policies increase cover automatically over the Christmas period by around 10% and as much as 20%, a good number don’t, so it’s worth checking.

Even with a 10% increase, the claim limit still might not be enough. If you came home to find your house stripped of its contents, and an extra £1,500 on a £15,000 maximum claim limit, could you be sure it would be sufficient?

 

Single item claims

Likewise, a particularly expensive hi-tech gadget grabbed through an open window, or damaged beyond repair by water from a burst pipe, may be worth more than the maximum claim allowed for single items.
This is especially the case with cheaper standard policies, where single item claim limits can be set as low as just a few hundred pounds.

 

Increasing cover limits can be affordable

If after assessing your needs you think it might be wise to increase your limits, contact your insurer to discuss how to go about it.

Usually, it’s simply a case of agreeing the new amounts and making either a one-off payment for a specified period, or increasing your monthly premium until you want to additional cover to end.

And it shouldn’t cost you a great deal either. A few thousand pounds in extra cover might only set you back a few pounds for each month the increased limits are in place. Well worth it for the peace of mind.

Beware empty home restrictions

If you’re going away for Christmas and/or New Year, as many people do, be aware that it’s likely you’ll have a clause in your policy stipulating that a property isn’t empty for more than a certain period of time, otherwise your cover becomes invalid.

This is usually 30 consecutive days, but can be as much as 60 in standard policies.

As with claim limits, if you do intend to be away for longer than your cover allows, your insurer should be able to offer an increase in the maximum time period for a small fee.

Away from home at Christmas? Get extra cover

People often travel at Christmas, taking a larger number of valuable items with them than usual. You might be visiting relatives with a car load of presents and booze, or going to parties where the chances you’ll lose, damage or have stolen expensive personal possessions are increased.

If so, you might want to consider taking out what’s known as ‘away from home’ cover. The most expensive policies include this as standard, but many average policies won’t.

Your insurer should be able to offer it as an add-on, and it can be arranged by simply picking up the phone to your insurer or insurance broker.

 

Increase cover for any festive occasion

You’re also able to increase your cover for just about any festive occasion you might wish to celebrate.

From Chinese New Year to Ramadan, Easter and Rosh Hashanah, there are plenty of occasions when you might want to change your insurance terms, even for just a brief period.

 

Policy Expert

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare home insurance quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.