Whether you’re staying in the UK or jetting off to warmer climes to celebrate Christmas this year, the last thing you’ll want on your hands is a festive disaster.
Even if you’re just popping to a neighbour for a glass of sherry and a mince pie, it’s worth paying heed to things that might go wrong while you’re out.
So here are seven tips to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible…
1. Get your home winter ready
Staying with relatives over the festive period can be stressful enough, without returning home to discover a pipe’s burst.
So take preventative measures by leaving the heating on low or setting it to come on at least once a day while you’re away, and ensure your pipes and boiler are fully insulated. You might also consider covering your boiler against breakdown during the peak demand periods of the winter.
You can discover more top tips for protecting your home here.
2. Check you’re fully covered
Contents insurance protects your belongings against theft, fire, flood and damage. And it’s particularly important in the run up to Christmas when your home will be crammed full of more expensive goodies than usual.
Keep in mind if you’re going away for longer than 30 days, your contents insurance may not cover you.
The good news is some insurers will automatically increase your contents insurance over the festive season so it pays to check whether yours does.
Keep in mind if you’re going away for longer than 30 days, your contents insurance may not cover you. So again, check your policy and, if necessary, buy additional cover.
3. Lock up
Just as you don’t want to return home to a burst pipe, you also don’t want to discover you’ve been burgled.
So make sure you’ve locked all doors and windows (including those in garages and sheds) before you go. And if you’ve fed a cable through a window for outdoor Christmas lights, make sure the window can’t be pried open – or, preferably, use battery or solar powered lights instead.
Keep keys out of sight and reach of any windows or your letterbox, and leave a spare set with a neighbour or friend so that someone will still be able to get into your home in an emergency.
A word of warning, here, though… Insurance companies will only pay out for a burglary if there has been forced entry into your property, so if they get hold of a spare set of keys and simply let themselves in, you could end up seriously out of pocket.
Finally, if you have a burglar alarm, don’t forget to set it before you leave.