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Insurer reveals items most likely to be stolen from homes over Christmas

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

Jewellery, cash and sentimental objects are the most common items stolen from UK homes, according to an insurer.

Co-op Insurance analysed hundreds of thousands of home insurance claims going back to 2013 – and also commissioned research among 4,000 people across the UK.

Its claims analysis found that since 2013, the average claim for items being stolen has increased by nearly a third (30%).

According to its latest figures, the average home insurance claim for theft comes to £1,500.

Meanwhile, its consumer survey findings show that jewellery tops the list as the most frequently stolen item followed by cash, with sentimental items in third place.

Laptops, tablets, televisions, mobile phones and alcohol were also on the top 10 list of items most commonly stolen.

Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch are urging people to be particularly vigilant over Christmas, as homes with poor security can be easy pickings for thieves over the festive period.

John Hayward-Cripps, chief executive of Neighbourhood Watch, said: “The research shows that many of the items burglars target, are in fact items which people will be giving or receiving this Christmas.

“Over the festive season, we’d encourage people to put extra measures in place to protect properties and belongings – whether that’s disposing of larger packaging boxes at the tip or installing some form of home security camera.”

Co-op Insurance automatically increases customers’ contents cover by 10% in the weeks before and after Christmas and New Year to allow for the extra gifts and valuables in the home.

Caroline Hunter, head of home insurance at Co-op Insurance, said: “No matter what time of the year, burglary is an extremely upsetting experience.

“With the festive period being a particularly busy time for lots of us, our homes are often unoccupied whilst visiting family and friends.

“Taking some simple security measures can help reduce the risk of being burgled – for example, make sure presents and valuables are kept out of sight from potential thieves.”

Here are the 10 items most commonly stolen from UK homes according to Co-op Insurance survey data:
1. Jewellery
2. Cash
3. Sentimental items
4. A laptop, computer or tablet
5. Television
6. Records or CDs
7. Games console
8. Mobile phone
9. Radio
10. Alcohol









And here are some tips from the Co-op’s Caroline Hunter to help keep homes and possessions safe this Christmas:
1. Double check windows and doors are closed and securely locked and if you have an alarm, make sure you set it.
2. Keep curtains closed when lights are on inside – dark nights make it easier for burglars to work out when a house is unoccupied.
3. Keep presents well hidden, even when they have been opened and if your Christmas tree is near a window, do not leave presents under it.
4. If you are heading out Christmas shopping in your car, leave gifts out of view and locked in the boot.
5. As tempting as it can be to post about gifts on social media, think carefully about who can see your posts and make sure you check your privacy settings to manage this.
6. Discard large cardboard packaging as this can give burglars an idea of what is inside your house.
7. While Christmas shopping remain vigilant and keep your belongings in sight. Busy crowds can be an easy target for pick pockets.
8. Check your insurance policy – presents in your home may be covered by your usual contents insurance, but if you have bought big ticket items, they may need to be listed separately.
9. Make sure high value items such as gadgets are covered outside of your home as these are not necessarily covered on a standard home insurance policy.
10. Check your insurance policy covers accidental damage cover so that any breakages to new items such as laptops, or wine spillages over Christmas are covered.