Burglaries and theft from the home remain a significant challenge for the insurance industry in the darker, winter months - Ageas’s data shows that three out of 10 ‘most burgled’ days last year occurred in November, with the average claims cost rising by 10%.

In 2015, November and January saw the highest number of burglary-related claims, accounting for over 20% of all annual theft claims. The data also shows that these claims cost, on average, 10% more compared with the annual average cost, with the most expensive November burglary claim totaling over £38k, where jewellery and cash were stolen from a customer’s home.

Just one month ahead of Christmas, 25 November took the top spot as the ‘most burgled’ day of 2015, with 13 November and 4 November also featuring in the top 10 ‘most burgled’ days. London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leicester and Nottingham formed the list of the top five most burgled cities, with jewellery, cash, electronics (including laptops, TVs, phones, tablets and cameras), bicycles and garden tools being the most commonly stolen items.

Rob Hopkins, Head of Household Claims at Ageas, comments: “With the clocks going back and darker evenings, opportunist thieves can take advantage. The insurance sector and brokers are urged to encourage policyholders to ensure their homes are as secure as possible.

“With our figures showing a spike in theft and burglary-related claims starting in November and lasting throughout all winter months, we recommend investing in good door, window and gate locks, a safe in a hidden location, as well as installing good outside lighting and burglar alarms. Customers should always keep their spare keys safe and never invite anyone they don’t know or trust into their home, even if they claim to be workmen in the area.

“We understand that having your home burgled can be a very traumatic experience. This is why we work in partnership with our brokers and claims suppliers to guide our customers and ensure they have the right cover in place to protect their homes and valuables so that, if they have to make a claim, we put it back as it was, as quickly as possible.”