When am I most likely to get burgled?


Home Alone stillUnited Archives/IFTN/DPA/Press Association Images

You're more likely to get burgled at this time of year than almost any other time, according to research from Confused.com. Home insurance claims are 2.4% higher than normal in January - when the bulk of Christmas thefts are claimed for.

So what are the big risks to watch for, and when are you most likely to be burgled?

Peak months

The statisticians found that the peak months for claims were June and November - when claims were 7.3% higher than normal. The June claims coincide with the May Bank Holidays when so many people are away, and so many others are overhauling their home - leaving it vulnerable to opportunist thefts.

The November claims come as the nights draw in, and thieves can operate under the cover of darkness for the first time in months. Add in the traditional spike over bonfire night, and it's no wonder that your home is at risk.

Third on the list is Christmas thefts. While these are not as common, they are often more distressing. They may involve the theft of Christmas presents, and can be a horrible shock at a time when everyone is inclined to let their guard down.

Research from Aviva found that burglars will wait until revelers are out celebrating New Year before attempting to steal the Christmas goodies. According to ten years' worth of data from Aviva, homes are 20% more likely to be broken into on December 31 than on an average day over the Christmas period.

It added that last year the five most stolen items at Christmas were Apple iPhones, Toshiba laptops, the Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and the Kindle. This year it says the iPhone 5, laptops, handheld consoles, iPods and iMacs were likely to be top of the burglar's wish list.

Protect your home

In response to the rising threat, Confused.com has issued a number of tips for how to protect your home at Christmas. It says:

Make sure that the value of your Christmas gift purchases doesn't push your home's total contents value above the value you have insured it for. Some contents policies automatically increase the contents insured over the Christmas period, so people should check their policy documents.

Don't leave wrapped presents in full view under the tree. Keep them out of sight. Removing temptation can reduce the risk of theft.

Make sure all doors and windows are locked and are fitted with key-operated locks.

Ask a neighbour to watch over your house if you are away over Christmas. Get them to collect your mail, keep your driveway cleared of snow and remove any other clues of your absence.
If you are away then try to make it look like someone's home by setting the lights, and even the TV, on a timer.

Gareth Kloet, head of home and car insurance at Confused.com added: "We'd also encourage homeowners to consider upgrading their security as both a way of safeguarding their possessions and as a method for reducing home insurance costs. For example, installing a properly fitted alarm and locks could bring lower home insurance premiums than if they were not fitted, so security could help save you money and protect your possessions.

Aviva adds that attics and lofts are a good hiding place for presents and it's usually too much effort for the average burglar to look that hard for items to steal, plus they'll be far away from the wandering eyes and hands of excited children.

It also recommends that you ensure all gift packaging is as unidentifiable as possible when you throw it out. It's easy to just dump new TV or iPod boxes in or near your outside bin, but it's a beacon for opportunistic burglars.