Halloween and Bonfire Night create lucrative opportunities for thieves, so knowing your insurance rights and taking precautions to protect your home are vital.
With the clocks due to go back on 27 October - marking the end of British Summer Time - we’ll see longer nights over the coming months.
Unfortunately, this is good news for thieves who emerge in the winter under the cover of darkness.
The end of October and start of November are particularly fruitful weeks for burglars as they look to take advantage of big events to catch out unsuspecting households across the country.
Tips to keep thieves away
With this in mind, here are some handy tips to help keep your home safe at this time of year.
- Install outdoor lighting as this gives potential burglars less places to hide.
- Lock your windows and doors even if you’re in.
- Don’t leave keys hidden outside, near the door or anywhere easily accessible from the door.
- Get an alarm system fitted as it’s likely to deter thieves.
It’s also worth being wary of distraction burglars. These criminals use a seemingly honest cause to gain entry to a homes before stealing items while the occupant is distracted.
Bogus callers could invalidate your home insurance and some home insurance providers won’t pay out for theft unless there is proof of forced entry, meaning opening the door to these criminals could leave you unprotected.
To be safe, double-check what cover your policy provides and be extra cautious about letting strangers into your home.
For more pointers on keeping your home and possessions safe read our guide to making your home burglar proof.
It’s also key to keep an eye out for vandalism during the spooky season as insurers report more claims for damage to cars and homes on Halloween.
Malicious damage and fires should be covered as standard on your buildings insurance, and on your car insurance providing you have a policy covering third party, fire and theft.
But it pays to take care to avoid the expense and stress of having to make a claim.
Popular claims around this period are for smashed windows and damage to doors and garden property.
Although many police forces will increase their patrols during this period, here are some things you can do yourself to reduce the risk to your property.
- Park the car in a garage for the night.
- Move garden ornaments and any other items out of sight, perhaps in a locked garage or shed.
- Leave on lights, the radio or television when you’re out to make it appear as if someone is in.
- Ensure sheds, garages and other out-buildings have robust locks.
- Don’t answer the door to trick-or-treaters if you don’t feel comfortable doing so and place a note or poster, such as this one from Gloucestershire police, on your door if you do not wish to have any visitors on Halloween.
Stay protected from thieves
Gareth Lane is head of home insurance at Confused.com.
He says: "Due to the seasonal spike in crime it’s especially important to take steps to ensure you and your home are properly protected.
"Alongside measures to keep thieves away and deter vandals, having home contents insurance is of primary importance.
"Otherwise you may be forced to cover the cost of any loss or damage as a result of a burglary, for example, out of your own pocket."
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