January is the busiest time of the year for burglaries, but how can you avoid them? The Insurance Council of NZ has some tips to help you stay safe.
Data shows January is the busiest time of year for people making claims on their home contents insurance. More claims came in during January this year and last year than at any other time during the two years.
On average, 76 people will have their homes burgled every day in January. Over the month, insurers will pay out NZ$6.1 million.
January is also one of the busiest times for car break-ins. An average of 1,000 claims were made over January this year and last year.
ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton says some simple steps will protect your home and car – and boost your chances of having a stress-free holiday.
10 ways to keep burglars at bay
1. Don’t leave the boxes from big or expensive gifts in your kerbside rubbish bin – you may as well tell criminals what you’ve bought. Store them out of sight and take them to the recycling plant.
2. Make sure your home looks lived-in, even when you’re away. Ask neighbours to water your plants and clear your mailbox, and set a timer to switch on your lights or TV each evening.
3. Never leave a message on your answering machine or tell friends on Facebook that you’re going away on holiday.
4. Don’t leave expensive things on display or easily spotted through your windows.
5. Think about where you put your Christmas tree and if people can see the presents under it.
6. Have an alarm installed. Many insurers offer discounts for properties with alarms.
7. Put in a security light. Outdoor sensor lights that come on when they sense movement are a good choice. Don’t leave the sensors within reach in case they can be tampered with.
8. Lock all garages and sheds, put away wheelie bins, and trim plants and trees near doors and windows. Burglars can use your tools to break in, your bin to climb on, and can hide in the bushes.
9. Lock doors and windows when you’re out, or while you’re asleep. If you do want to keep a window open for fresh air, screw in security stays.
10. Install security cameras or webcams. You can check them from your phone.
11. Christmas lights? Don’t run electrical cords through open windows or doors – they’re tempting for burglars. Have an outdoor socket installed.
12. Register valuable items on www.snap.org.nz, the NZ Police’s free, online asset list. If you’re burgled, that makes it easier for the police to track them down. It’ll also help when you make a contents insurance claim.
6 ways to keep your car safe
1. Install an alarm and immobiliser. Bonus: Some insurers offer discounts to customers with immobilisers.
2. Park your car in the garage, or at least on your property. If you have to park on the street, park under a street lamp to deter burglars.
3. Install sensor lights over your driveway if you can’t park in a garage. Make sure they light up your car.
4. An empty car doesn’t attract burglars. Take everything out of your car every time you get out. Bags, boxes, a GPS, cameras, jackets and sunglasses are all tempting for thieves.
5. Lock your car when you leave it. This one might seem obvious, but it’s important, even if you’re just unloading it in the driveway and only popping inside for a minute.
6. Buy a steering lock and use it whenever you park. It may not stop your car from being broken into, but it will make it much harder to steal.
Holiday insurance ideas
· Let your insurance company know if you’re going to be away from your house for a quite a while, if you have friends staying in your home while you’re away, or if you’re planning to list it with Airbnb or Bookabach.
· Check your house, contents and car policies are up-to-date and won’t run out over the holidays.
· Before someone else drives your car, check whether you’re covered for under-25s or unnamed drivers. If you’re not and they have an accident, your insurance may not cover it.
· Make a list of your valuables, including serial numbers and model numbers – and take photos. Keep this with a copy of your policy somewhere separate to your possessions.
· Mark big-ticket items with a code or name to prove ownership. If these marks are hard to remove, they may deter thieves.
· Review your cover after Christmas to add in any new valuables.
First published 21 December 2018
Story by Insurance Council of New Zealand
This article does not contain any financial advice and has not taken into account any particular person’s circumstances. Before relying on it, we recommend you speak with a financial adviser. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that we consider are accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate.
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