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Christmas hazards around the home

Melanie Wright
Written by: Melanie Wright
Posted on: 1 December 2016

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s good to be aware of the festive threats that could put your property and possessions at risk. After all, you don’t want to spend the holiday season making a home insurance claim.

Here’s our rundown of some of the hazards you might face this Christmas, and how to prevent them…

Bah-humbug burglars

There’s nothing like a home packed with expensive gifts to tempt thieves, so make sure you keep your Christmas presents out of sight.

Check your home security ahead of Christmas, and if you’ve got an alarm, switch it on whenever you go out, even if you’re only popping out for a short time - burglars can strike in a matter of minutes.

Be careful about where you throw away packaging too, as this can advertise any new gadgets you’ve got in your home.

Remember, if you suddenly have a load of new items in your property, your current home contents insurance limit may not be enough to cover them. Make sure it’s still sufficient so you don’t run the risk of being underinsured.

Burst pipes while you’re away

Burst pipes can be a major problem during the winter months. Nearly one in five claims made on buildings and contents insurance are for damage caused by leaks, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

If you are spending Christmas away from home, you may want to turn off your water supply before you go, but you’ll also need to remember to drain tanks and pipes as well.

Always make sure any exposed pipes are properly lagged, and if you’re keeping your water supply on, set your heating to come on a couple of times a day. It’s also a good idea to ask a neighbour to pop in and check everything is okay every couple of days while you’re away.

Read: Prepare your property for winter

Festive fires

Candles can give your home a lovely festive feel, but make sure you never leave them unattended and keep them well away from Christmas decorations, as some of these can be highly flammable.

Watch out for wrapping paper too, particularly if you’ve got overexcited children who will be ripping it off in a frenzy to get at their presents.

Christmas tree lights can also cause fires, so check they conform to the British safety standard and make sure you don’t plug them into a socket that’s already overloaded. Always turn lights off at night and make sure any smoke alarms you have are working.

Kitchen catastrophes

It’s not only Christmas lights and candles that put your home at greater risk of damage during the festive season.

Cooking for the hordes, especially if you’ve been knocking back the festive fizz, can often result in accidental damage. For example, if you leave a tea towel sitting too close to the hob and it catches fire, or if a bottle of wine is accidentally knocked onto furnishings.

Don’t underestimate the power of a Christmas pud either. If you’re cooking yours in a microwave, make sure you follow the instructions carefully; they’ve been known to explode if left in for too long.

The best way to avoid any accidents is not to leave anything you are cooking unattended and wait until the food is on the table before you get too merry.

Troublesome trees

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree, but it’s not only the lights that can pose a risk.

Make sure the base of your tree is properly secured so that the tree doesn’t topple over and cause damage to anything, and keep it as far away as possible from children and pets.

Read: Dangers to pets at Christmas

You should also make sure the base of the tree is sitting on something watertight, as leaking sap can cause damage to carpets and flooring.

Christmas is undoubtedly a fun time of year, but when your home is full of family and friends, it’s best to be prepared for anything.

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