New research from LV= (a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited) indicates that 16.4 million, or 37 per cent, of consumers are allowing thieves access to contents of their home. The company is concerned about the risks involved when people leave packaging from costly goods outside their homes in full view of passers-by as it awaits recycling.
Although the home and travel insurance company commends householders who are vigilant about recycling, it is concerned that leaving packaging outside homes could make them a target for thieves.
LV= spokesman Martin Milliner says: “If consumers want to reduce the risk of burglary, telltale signs of expensive belongings should not be left outside as this makes homes look like ‘yard sales’ to thieves.”
LV= points out that many of the most attractive items to thieves – such as laptops, games consoles and plasma televisions – arrive in cardboard boxes and that leaving packaging exposed makes homes “prime targets for opportunistic crooks”.
Old goods that have been replaced with newer, more expensive, items are also being left outside the home; 5.3 million people admit to doing this. The upshot is that thieves are more aware of valuable possessions that may have been bought as replacements.
The company recommends that old goods are taken to the local tip or collection point, as 38 per cent of the population already do. It also warns people that believe packaging and old goods to be safely hidden away that this is not the case. A rummage through rubbish can reveal all to a burglar, particularly now that many bins are only emptied fortnightly.
“A quick trip to the local tip could save people from the traumatic, and in some cases expensive, experience of home burglary. Or alternatively people are advised to wait until the day the recycling collectors are due and only put packing out then, thus drastically reducing the chance someone will see what has been bought,” says Mr Milliner.
His last point about contents insurance is perhaps the most important. “Households should make sure they add expensive individual items to their home and contents insurance policy. If the worst comes to the worst and there is a break-in consumers will at least be covered for their losses,” he comments.
Find out more about contents insurance
and home insurance