Who knows whether we’ll be able to celebrate a normal Christmas this year?
But even a socially-distanced Christmas still means plenty of money spent on decorations, food and gifts. In fact, a 2019 YouGov poll revealed that Brit’s festive costs add up to £1,116 on average – with £381.60 of that just on presents!
With so much extra spending around Christmas – a lot of it online - it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve taken necessary precautions to stay protected over the winter months.
Are Christmas gifts covered by home insurance?
Not only are fires more common over the Christmas period, but everyone having lots of high-value items in the house also makes it a popular season for opportunistic burglars.
Some insurers offer a seasonal increase to account for increased spending around Christmas, including on food, decorations and gifts - so read your policy documents to check what’s covered.
Bear in mind that while gifts may be covered against risks such as fire, theft and flood, they may not be covered against accidental damage.
Top tip: If you receive any shiny new gadgets for Christmas, don’t forget to make sure they’re either covered under your home insurance, or with suitable gadget insurance.
I’ve ordered my Christmas gifts online – are they covered in transit?
After a year of intermittent lockdowns and wide-spread store closures, many people have flocked online to make their Christmas purchases. If you need convincing of that fact, Google’s Smart Shopper survey (May 2020) showed that 86% of fashion purchases were made online for the year in review, in comparison to just 41% the year prior!
With delivery services under more pressure than ever before, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re entitled to when it comes to lost or damaged packages.
If you’re posting packages…
You can get compensation from Royal Mail for lost or damaged items, so make sure you check out how much you could be entitled to if something happens to your package in transit.
You should also the check Post Office’s list of prohibited and restricted items before mailing anything.
If you’ve ordered online…
Check the terms and conditions of the site you purchased from. Most retailers (small or large) will have some form of insurance in place to account for misplaced orders, so you usually won’t have too much trouble either getting a refund or a new order sent out.
4 tips for protecting your belongings over Christmas
1. Be aware of fire hazards
Even if your new items are covered under your home insurance, it’s important to take steps to mitigate risks that may arise over the Christmas period. For example, candles and incense burners sparked 1016 fires from 2019-20 according to the Home Office Fire and Rescue Service statistics. Taking simple steps - such as using battery-operated candles and/or keeping your Christmas tree and gifts away from potential hazards – could go a long way to keeping your home and belongings safe during the Christmas period.
2. If you’re going away, don’t make it obvious
Avoid unwanted attention being drawn to your property while you’re away by taking measures such as:
- Making sure every window and door is locked before you leave
- Putting your lights on timers so they come on for an hour or two in the evening
- Leaving a car on the driveway so it looks like someone is home
- Keeping high-value items tucked away, out of sight
3. Maintain your home over the winter months
Extreme weather conditions over the winter months can cause serious damage to your home. Winter winds are some of the strongest of the year, while a roof full of snow can wreak havoc on your tiles and guttering, leading to unexpected damage, costs and hassle.
Doing some basic property maintenance - such as fixing loose guttering or roof tiles, applying draught excluders to windows and doors and keeping an eye on your pipes for signs of freezing - could go a long way to preventing a winter disaster.
4. Make sure you’re covered
With the increased risk of fire, theft and property damage over the winter months, it’s important to check that you have sufficient home insurance in place, and that you understand what cover is provided under your policy.
If you receive any new gadgets over the Christmas period, you should also make sure you have suitable gadget insurance in place to protect them against drops, scratches and spills.