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Home Security over the Christmas Holidays

Christmas holidays are a special time when families and friends come together to celebrate the season. It is also the time of year where families and friends are most generous and practice the tradition of gift giving. It should be a joyous and happy time for all of us.

Unfortunately for us, home burglars view the holiday season a little differently. For them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarise your home for cash, credit cards, and all the new gifts of small electronics, computers, jewellery, and easily sold valuables.

Here are a few tips of what they look for when shopping for a house to burglarise. These tips will help you enjoy the holidays without incident.

  • Burglars look for an easy entry with good escape routes. Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it’s easily visible from the street. It’s too tempting for them to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages.
  • Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, or advertising flyers hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbour to keep the front of your home clean of papers and debris.
  • Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. Don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to a trusted neighbour.
  • Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows. Sliding windows that are not secure can be seen from distance. One holiday problem can occur when exterior Christmas light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured. Hire an electrician or handyman to install an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights.
  • Don’t post your family name on your mailbox or on you house. A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone number and call your home while in front of your house to confirm that you are away.
  • Don’t leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, “You’ve reached the Wilson’s…we’re away skiing for the Christmas holidays…please leave a message.” Burglars love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
  • After Christmas day, don’t pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, or stereo receiver on the street for the garbage man. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break them down or cut them up to conceal the items better. After a lucrative burglary, the chances of being burglarised again are increased to steal the new replacement products.
  • Last, but not least, fortify your home by installing solid core doors, heavy duty locks, longer screws in the lock strike plates and door hinges, and install secondary security devices on all accessible sliding windows.

Queensland sees highest rise in residential premiums

Queensland households have seen the highest increase in insurance premiums this year, according to Canstar Cannex’s annual rating of home and contents policies.

 The financial research company analysed 38 insurers and 74 policies and obtained over 16,000 individual quotes across the six states to rate companies. 

It says the average home and contents premium increased 12% in Queensland, 7.4% in NSW, 5% in Tasmania, 4.9% in SA, 4.7% in WA and 4% in Victoria.

 Nationally, 62% of policies have had price increases of no more than 10%, but 31% of Queensland policies have increased by more than 20%. In flood-affected areas, a regional postcode has seen increases of up to 41% while premiums have risen up to 36% for a Brisbane postcode.

 Canstar Cannex studied flood coverage this year and found 92% of policies now cover flooding caused by rainwater runoff, 52% cover flash and riverine flooding, 29% tidal flooding and 16% seawater flooding.

 It says that for building-only insurance, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank are “standouts for the value they offer consumers across the country”.

 Australian Unity and Westpac again top the list for contents insurance. 

For home and contents combined, Australian Unity and Commonwealth Bank are top, with Australian Unity very strong in Queensland and WA and Commonwealth dominating in Victoria, SA and Tasmania. 

New market entrant Coles Home Insurance topped three categories in NSW – building-only, home and contents and contents only.

 Canstar Cannex Research Manager Chris Groth told insuranceNEWS.com.au he can understand how consumers find it hard to compare policies, and many “might not find the energy or motivation to start doing it”. 

He says this year some insurers have tried to make policies easier to understand by including a one-page explanation of important information within their product disclosure statements.

Source: John Heath – InsuranceNewsAustralia.com