Christmas time, presents and… burst pipes? Christmas is a time for celebration, spending time with friends and family maybe at home or away, but just to make sure your Christmas goes off without a hitch, you might want to consider our few little pointers over the festive period:
If you’re leaving your property over the Christmas period…
Even if you’re only popping to the pub or to the shops, it goes without saying, but don’t leave presents on display, no matter whether you’re out for an hour or a week. Keep it covered and out of sight. Did you know that our Tenants Contents Insurance increases cover levels around religious festivals, such as Christmas by up to 10% to cover any presents or other expensive items you may have in your home at this time of year.
Security is key – sadly the festive period is also a prime time for thieves. Ensure all doors and windows are locked to prevent easy access into your property. It’s also a good idea to not announce on social media that you’re going away for weeks and your home will be empty.
Unplug electrical appliances – not only will this save you money, you’ll avoid fire risks by unplugging small electrical appliances, such as Christmas lights. You don’t need to worry about unplugging large appliances such as your fridge freezer of course or you may come home to a very unpleasant mess.
Turn your water off – by turning off the water supply at the main stop cock you’re minimising the risk of any potential leaks or burst pipes.
Leave the heating on low to avoid burst pipes. When the temperature drops to freezing, pipes can expand and contract resulting in problems - such as slow leaks - likely to get worse or for the water to freeze and pipes to burst. Leaving the heating on a constant low temperature (at least 13 degrees Celsius) means the water will remain at a constant temperature as it flows through the pipes and you hopefully won’t come home to a flooded home. This may also be part of your tenancy agreement, so if the pipes did burst as a result of you turning off the heating, you may also be responsible for any damage. Best to be safe, not sorry.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Everything should be in working order, but it’s always a wise idea to double check. Not only will this ensure your safety, but might also save your Christmas dinner! If you find either of these aren’t working correctly – and you’ve tried the basics such as replacing the battery, let your Landlord / Agent know immediately.
Check you’ve got emergency numbers
Be prepared. Find out the contact details of who you need to contact in case of an emergency such as losing your keys or a broken boiler in advance so you don’t have to worry if something did happen. Your landlord or letting agent should be able to supply this to you.
Be careful with fires and candles
Christmas is a time of year when we all like to create a cosy atmosphere. Make sure that candles and fires are never left unattended – even if you’re just spending a couple of hours in another room, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As well as a fire risk, candles can also damage the surfaces they’re placed on and surrounding walls and shelves if placed too close, which could be something that will cost you to fix (unless you have Tenancy Liability Insurance to cover you for accidental damage).
Also, just check you’re not breaching your tenancy agreement by lighting real candles in the property. Some tenancy agreements state that the burning of naked flames are not permitted and you could find yourself in hot water. If in doubt you can always buy LED candles to create that Christmassy atmosphere without the risk.
Peace (of mind) and Goodwill
As much as you prepare, things can always happen that are out of your control. Whether it’s guests spilling mulled wine on your carpet or the unfortunate event of thieves breaking into your property, by ensuring that you’ve got adequate insurance you can remove the worry, should the unexpected happen. As a tenant, you may want to consider Tenancy Liability Insurance, which can cover you against potential deposit deductions for accidental damage to the furniture, fixtures and fittings in your home that are provided by your landlord.
During the festive period it's also likely that the value of the possessions you own could increase. To give you a little more protection around the festive period, our Contents Insurance Incorporating Tenancy Liability increases your contents sum insured by 10% throughout the whole month of any religious festival, to account for all the additional food, drink and presents in your home- and it’s at no additional cost!
If you already have insurance in place and do receive any high value items, such as gadgets, jewellery or a new bicycle you may want to check whether your insurance automatically provides cover for the item. If you do need any help or have any questions you can call our tenants insurance team who are available on 0800 035 8258 Monday to Friday between 8.30am-8pm and Saturdays 9.30am-1pm.
Now you’ve done your homework – it’s time to go out and make the most of the festive break!