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How can Christmas affect your contents insurance?

Christmas is a time to spend with your loved ones, eating, drinking and being merry, so insurance may be the last thing on your mind. But did you know you might need to update your home contents cover because of the festive season?

With all those new presents filling up your house, it’s a good idea to make sure they are properly covered by your contents insurance.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your possessions are covered and safe during and after Christmas.

Know their value

Insurers use the value of your possessions to help calculate your home contents cover. So, when you receive gifts that increase the value of your possessions, that can affect your insurance cover. And that goes for other special occasions, like birthdays or weddings.

It’s surprising how much new valuable stuff you might get at Christmas, particularly if you have older children who have filled their Christmas lists with requests for game consoles and other gadgets. According to research from American Express, UK shoppers are planning to spend an average of £346 on Christmas gifts in 2020[1], but it’s easy to imagine some households accumulating gifts worth even more than that.

Thankfully, some insurance companies make it simple for customers and automatically increase the amount they cover on a temporary basis in the run up to, and immediately after, Christmas[2]. This increase is often 10% on top of the value of your existing items. But it’s worth bearing in mind that not all insurers provide this increase or do so automatically[3].

Check your policy 

It’s important to check your home contents policy documents, or speak to your insurer, to see if you have this extra temporary cover, whether it starts automatically, and find out when it ends – at which point you’ll need to let your insurer know about your new gifts[4]. It may be a good idea to make a note of it in your calendar or set yourself a reminder to contact your insurer.

If your policy doesn’t include any temporary cover, then you’ll need to contact them to let them know the increase in value of your home contents as soon as you know how much your new possessions are worth[5].

This is particularly important if you have been given expensive gifts, like jewellery, that may cost more to replace than the single item limit set on your policy and will need to be added to the policy as valuable items4. The single item limit is the maximum amount you’ll receive for a single insured item, if you need to make a claim. If you’re not sure what your single item limit is, it’s worth checking your policy documents, as this will differ depending on your insurer and the type of cover you have.

Keep your new possessions safe

Christmas can be an appealing time for burglars who know that many homes are full of new possessions[6] and may be looking for opportunities to take advantage of that.

To avoid drawing attention to any valuable gifts you may receive, the police advise that you either keep boxes for expensive items or break them down and conceal them in your bin[7].

Remember to keep gifts, cash and valuables safe and well-hidden, so they can’t be seen or reached from outside your home.

With just a bit of preparation, you can give yourself the peace of mind to concentrate on your festivities and enjoying a happy and stress-free Christmas.