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Christmas clearout

Barclays found that the number of claims for burglaries increased by 14 per cent in the period just after Christmas. But it is not only the incidence of burglaries that increases over the festive season - the average cost of a theft claim also jumps due to the rich pickings of Christmas gifts. In January 2006 the average burglary claim was at £6,263, compared to £4,817 for all of 2005 - a difference of almost £1,500 – undoubtedly highlighting how the festive mood can quickly turn sour and into an expensive affair. Barclays urges Brits to follow the following tips to make sure their presents stay with their intended owner and don’t fall prey to burglars: Make sure you don’t have your Christmas present on show in a room that can be seen from the outside
  • If you go on holiday over the Christmas period or on a night out, make sure your home does not look like you're out of town. For example, keep the lights on, leave the car in the driveway and get a family member or friend to regularly check on your home.
  • Make sure your new valuable presents are covered on your insurance
  • Always lock all your doors and windows when you leave the house (even those on upper floors)
  • Think about installing an alarm and motion-sensor lights around your home to deter burglars.
Mark Till, Marketing Director, Barclays Insurance said: “Christmas should be a time of fun and happiness but it has unfortunately also become a time of year where more thefts and burglaries are occurring. Nowadays many presents are high in value but also light and portable, such as laptops, jewellery, gadgets like iPods and BlackBerrys or the latest games console – making them ideal targets for burglars. “The least you can do to make sure your Christmas doesn’t get spoilt by burglars, is to ensure you have sufficient cover in place as part of your home insurance policy. While your insurance won’t be able to compensate you for the distress a burglary can cause, it will allow you to replace all of your stolen items, so that your Christmas doesn’t have to end in a bitter disappointment.” Barclays automatically increases its standard contents cover by £3,000 in the month of December. For more information on Barclays home contents insurance and other products, see