The twelve risks of Christmas

5 minutes

The arrival of Christmas often brings with it an influx of gifts, parties and outings, but unfortunately it also brings risks. From bad Santas and online grinches to party mishaps and more – here are some things to think about.

1. Accidental Damage

Over the festive period, more people tend to be in the home which increases the chances of accidental damage. Typical accidental damage claims over Christmas could include common party mishaps such as spillages on carpets and furniture or broken tableware.  We’d therefore recommend that you check your home insurance policy for Accidental Damage cover, to ensure you can either repair any damage or replace any items that are irreparable. 

2. Break-ins

Christmas is a great time of the year for opportunistic burglars. So try to place any valuables out of sight and check your doors and windows are locked properly. The latest smart locks, such as the Yale L1, are a straight swap for most modern door handles and allow a homeowner and their family to unlock a door with a fob or smartphone – though do check with your insurer before installing. It also gives real-time notifications as to which device has unlocked the door or if it has been unlocked unexpectedly.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a worrying rise in the number of home safes that are being stolen, along with their precious contents. Remember to have your safe professionally installed.  Simply relying on a safe being hidden in the home is not good enough – thieves will find it.  

3. Vehicle theft

It’s not just your property which is at risk – burglars are just as opportunistic when it comes to cars.  The overwhelming majority of cars are now being sold with keyless entry as standard and keyless car theft is becoming more common. There are various ways in which you could prevent yourself from being the victim of keyless car theft, from keeping your keys in a safe place to purchasing a signal blocking device.

4. Jewellery mishaps

If you’re taking your fine jewellery out of the safe for a glamorous event, remember to check your stones’ settings and clasps. To avoid that party ending in tears, we would recommend that you take your jewellery to be checked by a specialist jeweller every twelve months.

If you have a particularly precious piece, then consider specialist jewellery insurance which can include pairs and sets cover and cover whilst outside the home.

5. Fire

Christmas is a time when there are extra fire hazards in the home. These include:

  • Candles
  • Portable heaters
  • Open fires and wood stoves with spitting embers
  • Christmas tree lights
  • Overloaded sockets

Consider, too, the sun’s rays reflecting off glass.  This might not be such an obvious hazard, but the winter sun can still be strong and cause a fire. One of our clients placed a mirror opposite a window and the concentration of sunlight caused a fire which created over £90,000 worth of damage to the property. Candles, lights on trees, glass trinkets and ornaments all pose a similar risk.

Fire risks aren’t limited to inside the home. There are also outdoor lights to consider and cables which someone might trip over.

To remind yourself of good practices around fire risks, visit the Government website.

6. Snow and Ice

A white Christmas is a beautiful and romantic sight but freezing pipes can be a harsh reality. The Association of British Insurers estimates that the cost of insurance claims for a burst pipe can rise to £7,500 during the freezing weather, so take steps to reduce the risk of pipes freezing. These should include servicing your boiler, insulating any exposed pipes, and maintaining the water temperature by keeping your heating on low.

7. Flood

Not every Christmas is a white Christmas and it’s no secret that this year the UK has battled some very wet weather. If the Met Office issues a warning for heavy rains and flooding in your area, make sure you are prepared. 

8. Escape of water

If you have a small undetected leak it could turn into something bigger – particularly if you have more guests than usual using your home and putting pressure on your pipes. Water leaks can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and properties can take months to dry out before repairs can be completed. Acting quickly when you discover a water leak can mean the difference between a small clean-up job or extensive damage and inconvenience. 

9. Underinsured contents

It’s Christmas – there will be decorations, food, and fine wine, not to mention gifts under the tree. Therefore, the total value of the contents in your house will likely peak over the holidays. Some insurers may automatically increase your contents cover over the festive season, but it will not be the case for every policy, so it’s worth checking in with your broker or insurer in the lead-up to Christmas.

10. Leaving your home unoccupied

Christmas can be a great time of the year to get away but, amidst the excitement, it’s easy to forget about the things you need in place to keep your home safe whilst you’re away. Whether you’re away for a few days or a couple of weeks, here are some things to think about.

If your home is unattended for more than 30 days, you may need to tell your insurer, as many policies will include an unoccupancy condition.

11. Cyber risk

Whether you’re buying presents for loved ones in the run up to Christmas or spending gift tokens received, the likelihood is that some of us will be spending money online. We’d hate for anyone’s Christmas to be ruined, so here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself online over the festive period and beyond. Cyber Security over the festive period

12. That extra special gift

When it comes to that extra special gift – whether it’s a diamond necklace for a loved one or a piece of art for your wall – one of the most important things to do is to let your insurance company or insurance broker know.

We wish you a safe and Merry Christmas!