At this time of year, you are probably more worried about getting those last-minute presents than thinking about home insurance. But sparing a moment to make sure all those expensive gifts are insured could help avoid a miserable Christmas, should the unexpected happen. In this article, we look at whether home insurance covers Christmas and how to buy home insurance that covers Christmas.
What does home insurance cover?
Home insurance covers the cost of financial loss as a result of the loss, damage or destruction of your property or its belongings. There are two main types of home insurance; buildings insurance and contents insurance and both types may not necessarily be required depending on your personal circumstances. Buildings insurance covers the cost of damage to your property while contents insurance covers the cost of loss, damage or theft of your possessions within your home. If you want to ensure that your belongings are covered at Christmas, you need to ensure you have a contents home insurance policy in place. More information on home insurance types can be found in our article, 'What are the different types of home insurance?'.
Does home insurance cover Christmas?
Most home insurance providers include cover for special occasions such as Christmas and other religious holidays as standard and some insurers also increase the amount that you are insured for around these times; usually by a percentage of 10% but can be up to 20% depending on the insurer. Check your policy documents carefully as insurers may increase the cover automatically or you may have to notify your insurer. Get in touch with your insurer if you are unsure.
Does home insurance cover Christmas presents?
Most contents insurance policies will cover items within the home if they are stolen or damaged but insurers often have single-item limits which is the maximum amount the insurer will pay for an individual item. In the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim, you will need to ensure you have kept the receipts of gifts as proof of purchase and to help with the claims process.
If you have bought a particularly expensive item at Christmas you will need to check to see if the item is covered under your policy. In some cases, you may need to call your insurer to raise the cover for an individual item and this may come at an additional cost. Alternatively, you could take out a separate insurance policy to cover the item individually.
Does home insurance cover Christmas food?
Some home contents insurance policies will cover frozen or chilled food should the fridge/freezer fail and your food is unsafe to eat. For example, More Than home insurance offers up to £500 towards the cost of freezer food as standard if there has been an 'accidental change of temperature in the freezer'. However, amounts over £500, cases where the electricity supply has been deliberately cut off and claims where homes that have been left unoccupied for more than 60 days are not covered.
Does home insurance cover accidental damage?
The festive period can result in claims for accidental damage particularly as more people are accessing their lofts to retrieve Christmas decorations. Common claims include repairs for damage due to people putting their foot through the ceiling. An increased number of visitors could also increase the chances of spillages that ruin or damage the carpet. If you experience accidental damage at your home over the festive period you are likely to be covered if you have accidental damage insurance included on your home insurance policy.
Some insurers may include this as standard but most commonly, this needs to be purchased as an additional extra. Check your policy documents carefully to see if you have accidental damage insurance or alternatively you could call your insurer to see if this is something that can be added at an additional cost. More information on accidental damage insurance and how it works can be found in our article, 'Accident damage insurance - a complete guide'.
Does home insurance cover being away at Christmas?
If you are planning on being away during the festive period you will need to check your home insurance policy documents to make sure you are covered. The terms and conditions should state what the 'unoccupied period' is, which is the maximum number of consecutive days your property has not been lived in. If you are away for longer than the unoccupied period stated in your policy document, it is unlikely you will be covered should you wish to make a claim. For example, More Than home insurance will not cover claims if your property has been left unoccupied for 60 consecutive days whereas esure home insurance will not cover claims if your property has been left unoccupied for 30 consecutive days.
How to keep your home safe at Christmas
- Keep presents out of sight - Close curtains and blinds and keep anything attractive to thieves out of sight. If you are hiding presents from your children or partner ensure they are hidden inside the home as they may not be covered by your insurer if they are hidden in outbuildings or sheds.
- Have a light timer - Having a light on a timer gives the appearance that someone is home even if you have gone away or you are out late.
- Install security cameras and lights - Having security cameras, a camera doorbell or security lights is a good deterrent for any opportunistic thieves. It can also help gather evidence if someone does try to break into your home.
- Keep windows and doors secure - Ensuring your windows and doors are locked and secure when out and at night can help to prevent theft. Ensure that the locks meet your home insurer's minimum requirements and any keys are kept out of sight.
- Don't advertise your absence - Be careful when posting on social media when you are away as you are advertising an empty home to thieves which could encourage theft.
- Don't overload sockets - Overloading your sockets is a fire risk so ensure you are using your sockets responsibly and try to reduce the use of extension leads.
- Keep your real Christmas tree watered - A real Christmas tree is a great option at Christmas but it is a fire risk if it is not kept properly watered. A dry Christmas tree and faulty tree lights can become a fire hazard. Ensure it is suitably watered to prevent any risks and that your lights meet the minimum British safety standards. Using LED lights on your trees is not only the safer option due to generating less heat than traditional filament lights but they are also cheaper to run too!
How to buy home insurance to cover Christmas
A quick and easy way to purchase a home insurance policy is via a comparison site such as Quotezone*. Comparison sites allow you to compare the cost of numerous home insurance providers at once to find the best deal. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare quotes from over 40 UK home insurance providers. Comparison sites are not always whole of market, however, so you could be missing out on a better deal with a provider that is not featured on the site. When searching for a home insurance provider you should ensure you check the policy documents carefully so you know exactly what you are and are not covered for before taking out a policy.
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