With the festive season in full swing, and 2020 steadily approaching, it’s fair to say we are all looking forward to a well-deserved break with plenty of fun and frivolity during the holiday season.
To help keep you, your home and your business safe, we’ve compiled Whitbread's ‘12 Tips of Christmas’ – so you can enjoy a fiasco-free holiday!
1. Home security while on holiday
- Lighting - timer switches or smartphone apps are great tool to program your lights to switch on at certain times. This gives the appearance that someone is home and can assist in deterring curious criminals.
- Video monitoring - Consider purchasing a CCTV system that connects to your smartphone via an app. This will enable you to live-stream footage from cameras in your home through to your mobile device or tablet.
- Alarms - Invest in an IP monitored alarm system from an accredited provider. This type of alarm will not only alert your security provider, but can also send notifications to your mobile device if something is amiss.
- Curtains - Consider leaving your curtains the way they are. This can give the impression you’re home, but just remember to keep expensive items, such as jewellery, out of sight.
- Locks - Test all your door and window locks before leaving to make sure they’re effective and in working order. Don’t forget to arm all of them when you leave.
- Checking in – Have you got friends or family nearby that aren’t heading away on vacation? Ask them to occasionally check in on your property to make sure all is well.
For more information on having a drama-free holiday, click here to read our article
2. Essential Services for the home
Ensure you’ve turned off water taps to your dishwasher and washing machine just in case a washer or hose breaks while you’re away. Similarly, unplug any non-essential electrical items to ensure they don’t become damaged in the event of a power surge.
3. Christmas lights and fire risks
Consider converting old incandescent Christmas lights to LED bulbs. LEDs can help you save electricity, but more importantly, they expel little to no heat when in use. This can significantly reduce the fire risk.
- Ensure your Christmas lights and cords are in safe working order before you plug them in. Overloaded power boards, exposed wiring and damaged cables can still present a fire danger. Check for and avoid using items with frayed cables, burn marks, and exposed wires.
- Put your lights on a timer switch.
- Ensure your lights are used in the correct setting i.e. indoor/outdoor usage.
- Consider purchasing battery operated lights to decrease the fire risk.
- Check your lights to ensure they have a label confirming they've been tested and passed Australian Safety standards
4. Check the safety of your gas BBQ
Across the summer months in Melbourne, there is a serious gas BBQ fire on average once per day. This is often accompanied by property loss and injury. Know the drill before you grill! Before using your BBQ, check for any gas leaks and ensure that the fittings and hoses are in perfect working order before you fire up the grill.
5. Insurance policy maintenance – update, update, update!
It’s very important to keep your broker and / or insurance company updated with any changes to your insurable items. After Christmas it would be wise to take stock and update your contents insurance policy to account for any new and valuable items you may have received as a gift e.g. jewellery, electronics, artwork etc.
TIP: Insure valuable Christmas presents before they’re opened!
Should you purchase any valuable items as Christmas presents, make sure they’re added to your Contents Insurance policy the moment you get them home. This will help ensure they are protected against unexpected events like fire or theft.
6. Summer maintenance and renovations
Summer months can be the perfect time to renovate your property, or organise some long overdue maintenance. If hiring tradespeople, ensure they have a current Public Liability insurance policy with adequate limits in place – it is best practice to ask for their Certificate of Currency.
Likewise, if you live at a Strata property and are volunteering for works, check that the OC’s Strata Insurance policy includes Personal Accident Cover for Voluntary workers.
7. Business security tips
Ensure your business’ alarms and monitoring systems are up to date before you close for the Christmas period. If using an external security provider, ensure they’re aware of the dates your business will not be in operation.
If you’re travelling…
8. Travel Insurance
Ensure you’ve purchased a Travel Insurance policy to provide you and your family with financial protection and peace of mind should anything go wrong while away. To obtain a travel Insurance quote, or to find out more information, please click here.
9. Theft, loss or damage to personal items while on holiday
An exciting holiday can be marred with the loss of or damage to personal items such as jewellery, phones, handbags and wallets, sunglasses, cameras and laptops. It's good practice to ensure your Home and Contents policy includes cover for the theft, loss or damage of personal items while away from your residence. Travel Insurance can also cover these items.
Weather related events & claims
10. Hot, dry Australian summers can mean severe bushfires
With many parts of Australia experiencing a very dry start to summer, everyone needs to remain vigilant when it comes to the risk and danger bushfires pose - particularly in rural areas. Whitbread have published several articles on the importance of preparing for the bushfire season and staying informed during an emergency. Click here to read more.
11. Severe summer storms and flooding
Although Australia can encounter powerful winter storms, summer storms can often be just as severe, if not worse. Many summer storms have caused significant and widespread damage over the last decade. Ensure your property insurance is comprehensive, and includes cover for storm damage and natural disasters.
For tips on what to do if your property suffers severe storm damage, click here to read our article.
12. Need to get in touch over the Christmas period?
Whitbread is closed on public holidays over the festive period. We will close from 2pm Tuesday 24th of December, and reopen at 8:30am on Friday 27th of December, 2019. Our office will also be closed on New Years Day, Wednesday 1st of January, 2020.
Should you have a claims emergency and require assistance, please call us on 1300 424 627 for further instruction, or click here to read our after-hours emergency claims guide.
For after hours emergency claims assistance, click here to view a list of emergency contact details for a range of major Australian insurers.
From all the team at Whitbread, we wish you a safe holiday period and a prosperous 2020!
This insight article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of personal advice. Please contact Whitbread Associates Pty Ltd ABN 69 005 490 228 Licence Number: 229092 trading as Whitbread Insurance Brokers for further information or refer to our website.