Aviva is urging people to take extra care to protect their homes, as a double-whammy of seasonal celebrations looms.
UK statistics from 2018 show that Aviva home insurance claims for theft rose by 115%1 on Bonfire Night (5 November) and 45% on Halloween (31 October). Bonfire Night was also a hot-spot for fire-related home claims – Aviva saw a 160% increase compared to a typical day in 2018.
This trend is in line with previous years and may be due to people leaving their homes to attend Bonfire events or Halloween parties. A separate study2 from Aviva shows that two thirds of people leave their homes to attend events on 5 November.
This research also found that 40% of UK residents don’t check whether windows are locked before they leave the house and 29% don’t check their doors.
Adam Beckett, Product Director for Aviva UK, General Insurance says: “This is a brilliant time of year for celebrations, but as the clocks go back and the nights get longer, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for burglars. The calendar is packed with social events, meaning homes are often left empty as people celebrate, while the cover of darkness gives thieves an added advantage. Sadly our claims data bears this out as we see more burglaries during this season.
"Prevention is better than the cure and there are a number of simple steps people can take to protect their homes when they’re out enjoying the festivities. By thinking ahead and staying vigilant, people can beat the bad ‘guy’ and leave their homes without feeling ‘spooked’."
Aviva's advice to keep homes safe and secure:
- Lock up your property: burglars are opportunists and look for easy access, such as an open door or window. Thefts can take just a few seconds and can even happen while you’re in your home, so keep doors and windows shut and locked wherever possible.
- Make your home seem occupied: use timers or leave lights on if you’re out and aren't going to get back before dark. It’s also a good idea to leave a radio on to give the impression that someone is home.
- Install a visible burglar alarm and outside lighting: alarms - or even dummy alarms - can be a strong deterrent. Good lighting, particularly motion-detector lights, can make it difficult for burglars to hide while they try to break in.
- Don’t let thieves go fishing: never leave anything valuable – documents included – near doors, the letterbox or a window, as thieves can use coat hangers and fishing rods to hook them. Don't label your house keys either.
- Keep ladders and tools locked away: most professional thieves don’t carry tools with them – they use yours. So keep sheds and outbuildings locked.
- Keep your valuables out of sight and away from windows: consoles, games and DVDs are often high on the list of criminals’ must-haves. Other favourites include cameras, computers, mobile phones, and jewellery.
- Password-protect your electronic devices: and keep your cyber-security systems up-to-date. Back up everything up in a cloud, and don’t write your passwords down where they can be easily found.
- Don’t store valuables in the bedroom: thieves know that’s where most people keep their precious items. Stash them away in different spots around the home.
- Security mark your property: you can buy kits to mark or etch your belongings. Using your postcode with your house or flat number, or the first three letters of the name of your home, will increase the chance of your property being returned to you.
- Swap glass for something else: glass panels on doors can be a real weak spot. If you think glass could be a problem in your home, think about replacing it with laminated glass or using a film that sticks over the glass to make it harder to break.
- Don’t invite burglars back: thieves say one of the things they look for when they break in is your calendar. By marking out when you’ll be away – on holiday, for instance – they know exactly when to come back for heavier, bulkier items.
1. Figures relate to the number of Aviva home insurance claims in the UK submitted on 5 November 2018 and 31 October respectively, compared to the average number of daily UK home insurance claims in 2018.
2. Source: study commissioned by Aviva, conducted by Censuswide research in October 2018, interviewing 2,001 adults across the UK.
Notes to editors:
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