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2 Nov 2019

Burglary claims rise 115% on Bonfire Night: is your home safe?

Theft claims set to skyrocket on fireworks night

The number of home insurance claims for theft skyrocketed by 115% on Bonfire Night (5 November) last year, according to new data from insurance provider Aviva.

Halloween also saw a notable increase, with the number of claims for theft increasing by 45%.

The trend falls in line with previous years and is linked to people leaving their homes to attend Halloween parties or bonfire events.

People are being warned to take extra caution in the run-up to Bonfire Night 2019.

Here, we explain whether home insurance covers burglary and how to make sure you get the best home insurance policy to suit your needs.

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Does home insurance cover burglary?

While the majority of home contents insurance providers offer protection for burglaries, there are a number of limitations which could lead to your claim being rejected.

We've rounded up some of the scenarios that could catch you out:

Security failures

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

This usually includes having deadlocks on external doors and locks on accessible windows. If you forget to lock your doors while out trick or treating, your home insurer may reject your claim.

Investing in more robust security systems, such as burglar alarms and cameras, can help reduce your premium, but they must be in proper working order.

For instance, if you forget to set your security alarm while out at a fireworks display, your claim could be rejected by your insurer.

High-value items

Although thieves usually target high-value items such as smartphones, laptops and jewellery, these items might not be automatically covered by your insurer.

Some home insurance policies require you to take out additional cover to protect items above a certain value.

If you're under insured, your home insurance provider may reject your claim or pay out less than the value of your lost item.

Long holidays

Most home insurance policies specify that your home should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.

If a burglary takes place 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 extra cover into place while you're on an extended trip for an additional cost.

It's vital that you double-check the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy, as well as updating your home insurer of any changes to your circumstances, to ensure that you have the cover you need.

How to find the best home insurance

There are a number of simple steps you can take to find competitively priced home insurance policies that protect your home and garden.

Use a valuation calculator

It's common for policyholders to over underpay for home insurance because they've incorrectly calculated the value of their contents or the cost of rebuilding their home.

Using tools, such as a contents insurance calculator and the BCIS Rebuilding Cost Guidance calculator (you'll need to register if you're not already signed up) can help you get an accurate idea of home much cover you need.

Shop around

Price comparison sites are a quick and easy way to see what home insurance deals are on offer and which providers offer the right cover for your needs.

If you're coming up to renewal, shopping around for a better deal, can also give you leverage for haggling a better deal with your current provider, should you wish to stay with them.

Check the terms and conditions carefully

Insurance policy wording infamously opaque and Which? research has found that insurance terms and conditions are notorious for baffling readers.

Don't let this put you off, as it's important to check what you're actually covered for before buying a policy.

Checking over the terms and conditions will make sure that you get the right level of protection, your excesses are affordable and that you have included any necessary add-ons or extras.

Remember, once you've agreed to the terms of a policy, making a claim for something that's expressly excluded won't be possible.