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Summer holidays leave homes at risk: will your insurance protect you?

Burglaries more likely on unoccupied homes

With summer in full swing, many of us will be jetting off abroad or heading to a picturesque part of the UK. But are you taking the right measures to keep your home safe while you’re away?

Holidaymakers will leave their home unoccupied for an average of 10 days, new research from M&S Bank revealed.

The figures also show that one in ten people aren’t planning any home security precautions before going away.

This, however, could be putting homes at risk, as 42% of burglaries in England and Wales last year happened while the occupants were not at home, according to the latest ONS crime data.

Find out how to keep your home safe and make sure you have the right protection from your home insurance while you’re away.

Keeping your home safe while on holiday

For many of us, holidays can never be long enough. But keep in mind the longer we leave our homes unoccupied, the greater the risk of them being targeted by criminals.

More than half of people surveyed (53%) are planning to go on holiday for a week or more over the summer and a further 29% are planning to go away for a fortnight or even longer, according new data from M&S Bank.

Increasing security measures is especially important when your home is unoccupied and it’s vital to make sure that you have security systems in place to keep things safe.

M&S Bank recommends making basic security measures part of your holiday preparations, including moving expensive or desirable items out of sight and away from windows.

If you are going away, its also really important to check that your home contents insurance policy will give you the right level of protection should the worst happen while you’re away.

Does home insurance cover burglary?

The majority of homes insurers will cover you in the event of your home being burgled. There are, however, some exemptions which could lead to your claim being rejected.

Some scenarios that may catch you out include:

Long holidays

Most home insurance policies specify that your home should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days. If your home is burgled while your home is empty for a period longer than 30 days (due to an extended holiday, for example) your claim may be rejected.

Some insurers may allow you to put additional cover in place for the time that you’re away, if you let them know in advanced.

It’s worth checking what cover you could get with your provider if you’re planning a longer absence.

High-value items

High-value items, such as smartphones, laptops and jewellery, are often targeted by thieves, but may not be automatically covered by your home insurance provider.

Depending on your home insurance policy, you may need to get additional cover to protect items above a certain value.

If you don’t have the right level of home insurance cover, your provider may reject your claim or pay out less than the value of your lost item.

Security failures

Most home insurers require your home to be protected by a minimum level of security.

This generally includes deadlocks on external doors and locks on accessible windows.

Investing in more robust security systems, such as burglar alarms and cameras, can also help you find cheap home insurance.

Finding the best home insurance

It’s easy to get caught out by flashy deals and the promise of great cover when looking for home insurance.

These simple tips can help you cut through the noise and find the best home insurance policy to suit your needs.

Before you start looking at what’s on offer, use a valuation calculator to help you work out how much cover you actually need.

People often miscalculate the value of their contents which leads to paying for a policy that doesn’t provide adequate protection.

Once you have an accurate figure in mind, shopping around will help you find the best deal.

Price comparison websites are handy, and can give a good overview of what’s on offer. Don’t just go for the cheapest deal though and be sure to read the terms of a potential policy carefully.

To help you find the best insurer, we’ve analysed the standard contents insurance and buildings insurance policies of more than 30 providers, and combined it with feedback from thousands of customers to produce impartial home insurance company insurance reviews.

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