This Christmas, make sure that any stranger who visits your home is bringing presents and not taking them away

By Bob Cook

Home Insurance Help at Christmas

While it is natural to get excited about the forthcoming visit of Father Christmas and the magical way he will have of visiting your home and bringing gifts and presents for all, there are others who would also like to pay a surprised and unwelcome visit to your home to remove some of your most treasured items.

While like Santa they may seek to enter your home via unconventional means, unlike him they are not coming to spread peace and joy but rather they bring nothing but distress and despair. If you are unlucky enough to receive such a visit, you would hope that your contents insurance will at least make sure that in the long run you don’t end up being completely out of pocket. It is therefore essential that at a period when you could be considered to be at higher risk, you do nothing to evaluate your chances of making a successful claim.

At Home Insurance Help, we come across many customers who unknowingly cause themselves problems with their buildings and contents insurance. We have therefore created this short list to help you hopefully have a happy, jolly and insurance problem free Christmas.

  1. Keep presents out of sight
    Nothing looks nicer than passing a house that has a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree visible through one of its windows, but if it is obvious that there are lots of lovely looking presents around the bottom of the tree, then people passing your home may have their eyes than more than your tree.
  2. Turn off electrical and other decorations every time you go out
    Many people now have Christmas decorations that can rival the illuminations at Blackpool. While there is nothing wrong with that, a faulty lighting set could cause you more misery than any joy they may bring. At Christmastime we are prepared to put electrical lights, candles and other illuminations where we would not put them at any other time of the year. A natural Christmas Tree is a highly flammable decoration, and any small spark or heat can quickly turn it (and you home) into a raging fire in a matter of seconds. Even something simple as a Christmas card being too close to the naked flame from a candle can turn into a fire if left unaddressed. No matter how nice it might be to come home to a house that is magically illuminated, if an event similar to those described above, you may not be able to rely on your buildings and contents insurance to put things right. Your insurer may take the view that you were negligent in placing your home at risk and decide not to pay your claim. Every time you leave your home turn of all decoration lights and extinguish all candles.
  3. Let the bells ring out
    This is the time of year for friends and neighbours to pop in and visit each other to exchange cards and perhaps a glass of sherry. Even if you are only going next door for half an hour, if you have an alarm fitted to your home, you must set it. Likewise make sure all windows and doors are firmly locked. If while you were at your neighbours, criminals entered your home and removed your festive fare and presents your claim could be invalidated if you had an alarm fitted but it wasn’t set.
  4. Sweep that chimney
    This has nothing to do with making St Nick’s entry to your home a soot free one, but rather making sure you reduce your risk of a fire in the flu and equally your ability to claim. Again there can be nothing nicer that sitting in front of a real fire during the holiday season, but if your chimney hasn’t been swept for many years you are increasing your chances of fire in your chimney. Perhaps more importantly if the evidence proves that your chimney hasn’t been swept for many years, the insurer could claim that you have failed to properly maintain your home. All insurance policies place an on-going obligation on the customer to maintain their property to a reasonable standard. This is because insurance is intended to pay for unexpected accidents and disasters and not your inability to properly look after your home. A fire in your chimney may not be covered if it can be proved you failed to have it swept regularly. Sweeping it once a year, possibly just before Christmas, will not only give you a more efficient fire, but will significantly reduce your chances of a chimney fire.

We would like to thank Essex based Chimney Sweeps ‘Cleensweep’ for keeping the Chimneys at Platinum Financial spick and span !!!