Christmas trips leave homes vulnerable to thieves

17 December 2007 / by None
A fifth of Britons are getting ready to jet off somewhere for Christmas, but their empty homes will be left behind as easy targets for thieves, according to research from Halifax Home Insurance.

Halifax found that 20 per cent of those going away for the holidays will take no extra precautions for their homes in order to reduce their chances of becoming victims of a break-in, meaning that more than four million UK households at risk from burglars over Christmas.

The research found that 10 per cent of people intend to be away for at least two weeks, leaving their homes unoccupied, and despite the fact that 34 per cent said that they are concerned about a Christmas break-in, many said that they will rely only on their neighbours to keep an eye on the property.

Others said that friends or family will look in on the property, and just eight per cent said that they will be fitting an alarm system or timers to the lights and radios to deter thieves while they are on their travels.

Marty Foulds, Senior Claims Manager at Halifax Home Insurance, said: "At Christmas it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and forget about home security. However, we all know there are criminals who see this time of the year as providing them with rich pickings.

"We are urging householders, especially those who plan to go away on holiday, to take measures to safeguard their home. This will go some way to avoiding an unpleasant return and of course a ruined Christmas.

"People can take practical measures to deter burglars and protect their homes while they are away by keeping expensive Christmas presents out of view, installing an alarm or even fitting timers to lights and radios which will create doubt in the burglar’s mind."

MoneySupermarket urges people to check their insurance policy to make sure it covers them for the kinds of things that they will have in the house at Christmas which thieves will be looking for, such as new bikes, games consoles and MP3 players. It also recommends that homeowners tell their insurer about the extra value of goods in their home to avoid being underinsured.

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