Have you heard this story?

A wealthy couple receive an unexpected surprise. They receive two tickets to the theatre in a competition neither of them can even remember entering. What a nice surprise!

So, on the night, they get all dressed up, go into town and enjoy the show.

But when they return home later that night, they find that they’ve been well and truly burgled – ­ the thieves (who obviously arranged the whole thing) have taken the opportunity to clean them out of their valuables. Home insurance, or no home insurance, a cunning stunt, a good story and, if you’ve ever experienced a burglary, a very unpleasant and scary experience.

And so now, as we head toward Xmas, I thought it worth telling another story of an incident which happened a few years ago in our local area.

Christmas, the season of goodwill, is also a time which offers rich and convenient pickings to thieves. For a start; there are all those brand new, conveniently wrapped, presents lying around in the home, secondly; we think very little of seeing people wandering around with their arms filled with boxes and thirdly (and this relates to my first story); there are lots of parties.

And so, one night, just before Xmas a year or two ago, someone got wind of a very popular local house party. Everyone was invited, everyone went. It was noisy, fun, the street was busy with strange cars and someone, we never found out who, used it as excuse to break into no less than seven empty houses and nick the presents found lying ready for collection under the Christmas tree.

As often is the case, I’m sure the thieves justified their actions by saying, “They’re all insured. They’ll get their money back!” But proving what expensive presents, electrical items, jewellery, toys, games, clothes, food etc you’ve lost isn’t that easy.

You may have the receipts of course (but many people actually enclose them with presents so items can be exchanged) but, even if they have, the value of the items stolen may be higher than sums allowed by the home and contents insurance of the victim.

So. The moral of this rather depressing season tale.

Never go out. Ever…

No seriously. Do take all the sensible steps you can to secure and alarm your home, make sure your home contents insurance is sufficient, up to date and you let your insurance company know of any new high value items in the house… It may not cost you any extra but it will give you a bit more Xmas peace.

And, of course, beware of winning things you never ‘asked’ for. There’s always a nasty sting in the tail.

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