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Cork Independent

Home & Property

Homeowners urged to protect against season-related risks

Wednesday, 29th November, 2017 5:27pm

Over three-quarters of people in Munster will deck their homes out in festive decorations this Christmas, with 15 per cent planning to go all-out, with both indoor and outdoor lights and decorations, according to Aviva Home Insurance research.

However, despite the great efforts that people in Cork and across Munster go to in preparing their houses for Christmas, the majority will not take any steps to protect them against season-related risks, such as chimney fires, electrical faults or boiler breakdown, the survey found.

Carried out by RED C on behalf of Aviva, it found that paying for everything is the number one concern for 40 per cent of people in Munster at Christmas. Other key worries include: pipes freezing (24 per cent), power cuts (22 per cent), boiler breakdown (13 per cent), Christmas tree going on fire (12 per cent) and chimney fire (ten per cent).

Cathy Herbert from Aviva Home Insurance, said that the vast majority of people in Munster are planning to spend Christmas either in their own home or in their family or partners’ family home.

"While it’s a very exciting time, homes are often at greater risk of damage at this time of year, due to extreme weather conditions and hazardous decorations, so it’s important for people to factor that into their Christmas preparation to ensure their home is well protected," she said.

"Similarly, homes may contain more valuables than usual at Christmas time, putting them at greater risk of being broken into. We were surprised to find that while almost everyone in Munster - (91 per cent) - said they lock up when leaving the house, just 29 per cent set an alarm; 36 per cent close the curtains; and only 19 per cent set lights on timers."

These simple steps, she said, can be highly effective. "We would remind people to be extra vigilant when going out at this time of year, to ensure their homes are protected, so they can focus on having a safe and happy Christmas at home with their families."

1. Avoid a chimney fire by having your chimney swept before the cold weather sets in.


2. Have your boiler serviced before the festive season to prevent a boiler breakdown when you need it most during the cold weather, and to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.


3. Develop a safety check routine to ensure all windows and doors are locked, and the alarm is turned on before leaving the house.


4. Don’t over-load electrical sockets with Christmas lights and decorations, to avoid electrical fires.


5. If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time over the Christmas break, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to check on the house and take in post.


6. If you are going away,

make sure not to announce it on your social media profiles, as burglars could potentially be monitoring this.


7. When you go out shopping or socialising over the holidays, try to give the impression that someone is home by leaving a radio or TV on or setting lights on timers.


8. Make sure to turn off all Christmas tree lights and blow out any candles when leaving the house or going to bed, to avoid risking a house fire.


9. Don’t leave Christmas gifts in plain sight of windows and potentially in view of burglars. Keep them hidden away as long as possible.


10. Check your home insurance policy to make sure Christmas gifts are covered in the unlucky event of a burglary. Aviva Home Insurance will automatically increase your contents cover by ten per cent for the month of December.

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