Christmas is meant to be a joyous time of year and for many of us it is exactly that.
However, it can also be a challenging and risky period for property – and for four very different types of reason:
- the weather;
- environmental hazards; and
- unoccupied property.
Although we certainly don’t want to depress you in the run up to the festive season, let’s look at these things and why you should be aware of them.
In spite of our familiarity with the problems that winter can bring, every year some of us get caught out and end up with Christmas misery due to one or another weather-related problems.
Traditionally, these were often of the ‘frost and burst pipe’ variety. It hopefully goes without saying that all those old tips about lagging and insulation are as valid today as they were in the times of our parents and grandparents.
However, our weather is changing and becoming wetter and windier at Christmas as a result. What that means is that storm and flooding damage is perhaps a higher risk over the holiday season than bitterly cold weather.
So, make sure that you’ve also checked the seals on your windows and doors. A quick inspection of your roof might also be advisable and don’t forget to ensure that all those gutters and drains have been cleared of leaves and other potential blockages.
The only group who arguably love Christmas more than children do are burglars. They know houses are full of extra goods by way of presents and if they can, they’ll help themselves.
In fact, one article reported last year that the amount of burglaries increase by 25% during the month of December.
There isn’t anything new to do here especially for Christmas but do remember to be extra vigilant about locks on doors and windows, using your alarm if you have one and be cautious about bogus callers at the front door. Most burglaries are opportunistic in that the perpetrators will strike instantly if they see a door ajar or a window left open.
They prefer easy targets, so deny them that opportunity. Remember also to check periodically on elderly neighbours if they’re alone over the period, both from a weather and security viewpoint.
For many people in the UK of the 21st century, the only time they really dabble with fire around the home is at Christmas with candles and open fires etc.
They’re great and atmospheric but also potentially a very real fire hazard. So, be careful and never go to bed leaving naked flames exposed.
To make matters worse, this is also a time when some of us suddenly and inexplicably decide we’re qualified electricians and start rigging up some extraordinary solutions for internal and external Christmas lights.
If you think the fire risks here are exaggerated, the following government article and video link should convince you otherwise. Every year people are also electrocuted as a result of ‘dabbling’ in this area.
- only use modern and fully safety-approved Christmas lighting;
- contact a qualified electrician if you have the slightest doubt as to how to go about things.
At GSI Insurance, we’re not going to apologise for bringing this up again as we approach the holiday and year-end seasons.
If you’re going away over the Christmas and New Year periods, leaving your property unoccupied might be an issue. Depending upon how long you’re away and what steps you may or may not have taken with your home beforehand, you might be putting your property cover at risk.
Unfortunately, space here doesn’t permit a full discussion of unoccupied property insurance but you can read our Guide to Unoccupied Property here for more information.
So, if you’re going away for a long winter break, make sure you protect your financial interests by calling us to ensure that your cover will not be put at risk due to your property standing unoccupied.