Majority of homes are not prepared for seasonal risks

More than three quarters of Irish people (77 per cent ) will deck their homes out in festive decorations this Christmas. However, despite the great efforts that people go to in preparing their homes for Christmas, the majority (61 per cent ) will take no steps to protect their home against risks such as chimney fires, electrical faults, or boiler breakdown. That is according to Aviva Home Insurance, which released the findings of its latest research this week.

The research, which was carried out by Red C on behalf of Aviva, found that paying for everything is the number one concern for 42 per cent of Irish people at Christmas. Other key concerns include pipes freezing (23 per cent ); power cut (19 per cent ); boiler breakdown (16 per cent ); Christmas tree going on fire (11 per cent ); and chimney fire (nine per cent ). The research found that rural dwellers are more worried than urban dwellers about power cuts and chimney fires.

“Christmas is a really important and special time for families in Galway and throughout Ireland and spending time at home with loved ones is a top priority, with the vast majority (86 per cent ) planning to spend Christmas either in their own home or in their family or partners’ family home," said Cathy Herbert of Aviva Home Insurance.

“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 in advance.

“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 (89 per cent ) said they lock up when leaving the house, just 38 per cent set an alarm, 39 per cent close the curtains, and only 27 per cent set lights on timers. These simple steps can be highly effective so we would remind people throughout Galway 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.”

Top tips to protect your home this Christmas

Avoid a chimney fire by having your chimney swept.

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

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

Don’t over-load electrical sockets with Christmas lights and decorations.

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

If you are going away, do not announce it on social media, as burglars could potentially be monitoring this.

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.

Make sure to turn off all Christmas tree lights and blow out any candles when leaving the house or going to bed.

Don’t leave Christmas gifts in plain sight of windows and potentially in view of burglars.

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 10 per cent for the month of December

For more information, visit www.aviva.ie/home-insurance

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