With Christmas just a matter of days away, many of us are in full last minute Christmas shopping mode, or you may be one of the organised ones and already have your gifts purchased and wrapped. Parents, or those with partners that have a tendency to snoop, will understand the difficulty of keeping gifts hidden so as not to spoil the magic of the present opening on Christmas Day. This may see people resorting to hiding gifts in various places, in order to avoid them being discovered.

A survey of 2,057 adults from across the UK commissioned by Aviva and carried out by Censuswide Research in October 2019, found that 6% of people choose the garage to hide Christmas gifts, whilst 3% prefer their conservatory. Another 10% store presents at a friend’s or relative’s house, while 19% use a variety of hiding places. Common hiding places also include cupboards, spare bedrooms under beds, in sheds and cars.

In this article we look at how potential hiding places could prove costly if they are not adequately covered by insurance.

Are Christmas presents covered by home insurance?

Yes. If you have contents insurance in place, this will usually cover any presents you buy and store in your home, on the run up to Christmas Day. However, it will depend on the level of cover you have. The average spend on Christmas presents was £388 in 2021, meaning the extra items in your home could push the value of your belongings over the cover limit previously set. It is worth checking your policy to make sure you still have enough cover.

Some insurance providers will automatically increase your cover limit for the month of December, referred to as a ‘festive’ or ‘seasonal’ uplift, in order to ensure the extra items in your home are covered. However, this is not applicable to all policies, so check with your insurer as to whether they adjust your cover and by how much.

Think of any technology, jewellery or other high value gifts that you may be storing away or likely to receive as a gift yourself. As well as a cover limit, insurers will also implement a single item limit, which is the maximum they will pay out on a single item on your policy. This is often around £500 but could be higher or lower depending on your policy. If you are storing or likely to receive a particularly valuable gift, you might need to speak to your insurer and add these items individually to your policy.

If I store gifts in a shed, are they still covered?

Anything stored inside your shed should be covered by your contents insurance policy. However, insurance limits for items stored in outbuildings/sheds are often lower than for items inside the home. Contents in outbuildings/sheds usually have an upper limit of between £1,500 – £2,500 for theft claims. This means that if items are stolen from your shed, you may not be able to claim for the full cost of the gifts if the value exceeds the limit on your policy.

If you do need to submit a claim for theft, your insurance provider will be likely to ask you to prove that the outbuilding/shed was secure (fitted with a lock/padlock) and the thieves weren’t just able to walk in and help themselves.

Will my home or car insurance cover any gifts stored in a vehicle?

There are many caveats in both home and car insurance policies which mean that you might not always be covered.

Some home insurance policies will cover personal possessions in a car up to a certain amount, but other insurers will only cover ‘everyday items’, which may not include any gifts stored in the vehicle. It is important to check the wording on your home insurance policy.

Contents limits on fully comprehensive motor insurance policies tend to be much lower than on home insurance. The limits usually range from between £100 – £1000, depending on the policy. This means that if you are buying valuable gifts and hiding them in the car, you may not have enough cover to replace everything if they get stolen.

If you do need to submit a claim for theft, your insurance provider may also want proof that the items were hidden away from view and in a locked boot, and not in full view for any potential thieves.

Sadly, burglaries do increase during the festive period. with opportunistic criminals seeking to take advantage of empty homes filled with presents.

In December 2021, it was predicted that at least 5,209 London homes would be burgled, at least 1,671 within the West Midlands, and at least 1,288 within West Yorkshire.

How to protect your home this Christmas

  • Hide presents in different spots within the house, making it difficult for burglars to take the lot all at once
  • Don’t put your presents under the tree until the last minute, as this is an obvious place for burglars to consider first
  • Make sure gifts and valuable possessions are out of sight and away from windows
  • Don’t show off expensive or large piles of gifts on Social Media
  • Don’t put large cardboard boxes outside the house until the recycling is due to be collected, as this advertises the gifts that you have received
  • Don’t leave keys where they could be ‘fished’ through the letterbox
  • Lock doors, close windows and set your burglar alarm, if you have one, every time you go out, day or night
  • If you have outside Christmas lights and you’re feeding the cable through a window, make sure it can’t be prised open. Use battery or solar-powered lights if possible.
  • If you’re out of the house for an evening or going away for a few days, beware advertising your absence on Social Media. Burglars use sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to determine when homes might be empty.

Tony Buckingham, Managing Director of Buckingham Insurance says, “Please take extra care with where you store your presents. We all know how wonderful Christmas can be. For many, it’s a time of goodwill and kindness. Sadly, for some, it’s an opportunity for theft. Please don’t become a victim. Please be extra vigilant with your home security, and don’t leave those lovingly selected gifts anywhere that they could fall into the wrong hands.”

To discuss your insurance requirements, please contact us or call in to our offices, either in Clowne or Ripley. Alternatively, telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625 (Clowne) or 01773 748 627 (Ripley). They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Who is Buckingham Insurance?

Buckingham Insurance is an independent general insurance broker. From our offices in both Clowne and Ripley, we have been serving households and businesses across Derbyshire and South Yorkshire for over 40 years. Our brokers provide our customers with professional, impartial help and advice about their personal and business insurance, and our extensive relationships in the insurance markets mean that we can provide tailored cover from the UK’s leading insurance companies and specialist providers.

We aim to offer a truly modern broker experience. We pride ourselves on putting our clients first, and the quality of the service we offer is demonstrated by our growing client base and the high number of clients that choose to stay with us, year after year.