With record spending on garden furniture, barbecues and accessories1, and the Police2 warning homeowners not to post holiday snaps on social media sites, Ageas is urging brokers to review home insurance policies for garden contents cover and share its tips for preventing burglaries this summer.
Police forces in some parts of the UK have issued warnings that holiday snaps and postings on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites makes travellers easy targets for burglaries.
Craig Allen, Head of Household Underwriting said: “We fully support the warnings from the Police. It’s not just items within the home itself that are at risk. The opportunities for theft are expanding as homeowners invest in their outside spaces and gardens - from high-end barbecues costing thousands of pounds, to posh sofas, smart sheds and fire pits.”
More expensive garden accessories have been popular this summer, with sales of top-end barbecues up 700% compared to five years ago, and outdoor living product sales up a third (34%) on last year3.
“With more money being put into gardens, homeowners should be encouraged to take some sensible precautions to keep burglars at bay and check insurance covers for risks such as theft and accidental damage, particularly for higher value items. As a general rule, if an item can be moved, assume it can be stolen.
To help prevent theft Ageas recommends the following Top 10 Home Security Tips
1) Create ‘burglar barriers’ - Low hedges at the front of the house create a physical barrier to get over, while creating a mental barrier for burglars who are still visible from the street.
2) Light up – Install sensors that detect movement around the side and back of the property.
3) Cover up/put away – Any high value items in the garden should be put out of sight or under cover if possible.
4) Prepare a noisy environment - A noisy gravel drive will put burglars off the property.
5) Look ‘lived in’ – Make use of timer switches to turn lights on, speak to a neighbour or postman to make sure post and papers don’t pile up.
6) Lock it up, even inside - A determined burglar will get in if they want to, so think about a safe for the most important valuables and possessions.
7) Protection from ID theft - Don't leave bank or credit card statements lying around, as any burglar may instantly have access to thousands of pounds.
8) Hide keys - Don't leave keys out in the open or in an obvious drawer – this could allow a burglar repeat access to the property, and even access to the household car.
9) Avoid social media postings – These can make it obvious that the home is unoccupied.
10) Install an alarm – this will help alert neighbours and emergency services of intruders.
Craig Allen concludes: “Coming back from holiday to a house break-in can be extremely traumatic but with opportunities for theft from the garden too, it makes sense to take some simple measures. Think about what information you post on social media sites – information which is made publicly available could increase the risk of burglary. Brokers can assist customers in checking the policy limits for any individual items that are kept out in the open in the garden while highlighting the burglary prevention tactics they should consider this summer.”
3 Article in the Times on 27th June 2015 by Lucy Bannerman on the cost of barbecues