Saturday, 23 October 2010


Being robbed is a nightmare but it’s even more devastating if you let the offender into your home. As winter sets in, the risk of burglary increases.
Winter means cold weather and darker nights but it also brings a greater risk of crime.
Burglars are more likely to target your home and personal belongings when the nights draw in.
Many criminals attempt to gain entry by posing as genuine workmen. Last year, advice service Consumer Direct received more than 5,300 complaints about suspicious “traders” offering home maintenance work on the doorstep.

Beware of bogus callers
Police forces around the UK have been issuing warnings against bogus callers after a spate of thefts in recent weeks.
In particular, Wiltshire police reported several incidents when homes were targeted by a distraction burglary – where the homeowner is distracted under a false pretence, someone posing as a gas man for example, while  an accomplice rifles though their possessions in search of cash or valuables.
So, be wary of rogue doorstep traders, especially those offering winter home improvements.

How it affects home insurance
Despite this alarmingly high figure and the fact that the average victim of a distraction burglary has £1,230 worth of belongings stolen, the research also showed that this type of crime went largely unreported.
Quite often a homeowner might not realise something is missing until sometime after the incident and in other cases they fail to report it all together.
But an insurance policy might not pay out if the crime has not been reported to the police, because most insurance policies state that there’s a window of between 24 and 48 hours to report a theft in order to make a claim.
More importantly, your contents insurance may be invalid if you’re victim of this type of crime because some polices only pay out if there is evidence of forced entry. Inviting the offender in for a cup of tea might not cut it with your insurer.
“A policy wording might say that the home insurer will exclude theft by deception, unless deception is used only to get into the home.
“They may also exclude a claim for theft of personal money, unless someone has broken into or out of the home by using force and violence.
“So this means that in some circumstances a theft by deception is covered but every policy is different.”

What can you do to protect yourself?
Firstly, always lock up and remember to make an extra effort to make your home look occupied if you’re out on bonfire night, Halloween or away for Christmas – prime times for thieves to strike.
When it comes to bogus callers the Office Fair Trading offers the following advice:
  • If a trader knocks at your door do not agree to on-the-spot house repairs, or sign anything      there and then.
  • Be wary of special offers or warnings that your house is unsafe.
  • Do not make snap decisions. Take time to talk to someone you trust before you agree to anything.
  • If in doubt, call Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or   HOME INSURANCE
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