Sainsbury's home insurance is expecting to be inundated with claims following Christmas accidents and mishaps in the home.
Sainsbury's recorded a 37 per cent rise in home insurance claims during the first week of January 2009, compared to an average week, and estimates that January 2010 could see more than £25.4million of home insurance claims.
A higher value of contents in the home due to Christmas presents leads to the higher level of home insurance claims, Sainsbury's said, as households look to repair the damage done during the festive period.
December also sees a rise in value of home contents insurance claims, with more expensive food and drink in the home in preparation for Christmas day, vulnerable to power cuts, as well as the added value of presents, which could be damaged or stolen.
December 2008 saw a 16 per cent rise in the average home insurance claim compared to the rest of the year, to more than £1,260.
Commenting on the predicted rise in home insurance claims, Ben Tyte, manager of Sainsbury's home insurance, said: "In these challenging economic times, opportunist thieves could well be on the look out for unattended homes over the festive period, while large numbers of Christmas visitors could increase your chances of accidental damage, so the chances of having to make a yuletide claim increase dramatically.
"Even having the fridge and freezer very well stocked could lead to a considerable claim if there was a power cut. Leading up to Christmas we'd advise homeowners to check their home insurance policies to ensure they're automatically given extra Christmas cover."
Sainsbury's home insurance recommends a few tips to avoid a disastrous Christmas, such as checking the contents policy to ensure it includes accidental damage cover, not overloading plug sockets around the Christmas tree, not leaving candles near the tree or other decorations and furnishings, never leaving the cooker unattended, and moving breakables out of reach of children or unruly party guests.
Protecting the home against potentially adverse weather is also important, Sainsbury's urges, including leaving the heating on low to avoid frozen pipes, being able to locate the water mains in case a pipe does burst, and having the home insurance phone number and policy number to hand if householders need to make a claim.
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