I'm an insurance expert – and parents need to avoid simple mistake that could ruin Christmas
5th December 2021

SHOPPERS are being urged to think carefully about where they hide their Christmas presents this year, as putting them in the wrong place could prove a costly mistake. 

Insurance expert Sarah Applegate warns that using creative hiding places for gifts could end up costing you. 

Sarah, head of data science at Aviva, says you should check the terms and conditions on your home insurance before deciding where to store your present stash away from prying eyes. 

The 32-year-old has worked at the insurance firm for eight years, and is often quizzed by family and friends about how to get the best renewal price or how to make an insurance claim. 

She says: “Funnily enough, they don’t always find insurance the most riveting dinner conversation, but they always appreciate the help when they get stuck.”

One thing they might not know to ask, however, is where to hide their Christmas gifts.

Contents insurance covers you if any items in your home get stolen or damaged up to a certain amount. 

But the amount of cover is often drastically different for items stored in a shed, garage or car. 

If your gifts are stolen or damaged and you were storing them outside the home, you might not be covered. 

According to Aviva, around 8% of gift-givers hide items in garages or sheds, and another 7% keep their presents in cars ahead of the big day.

Sarah said: “Sadly burglaries tend to increase during the darker months and if presents are stored in traditional places such as in wardrobes or under beds, they may be easier for burglars to find.

“But there are important considerations if you store presents out the main home and if items are stolen from these spots, you may not be able to claim for the full cost of the gifts if the value is above your insurance limit.”  

Are my gifts covered by insurance?

How much cover you have will depend on your insurance policy. 

For some contents insurance there is no limit on the amount you can claim for items stolen from your home, while other policies may cap it at £50,000 or £100,000, for example.

There is also usually a single item limit, so you can’t claim more than a certain amount for each item.

This is typically £1,000 or £2,000, but again will depend on your specific policy. 

But the limits are often very different for items stored in a garage, shed or outbuilding.

And anything left in your car is covered by your motor insurance, not your home insurance, so will have a different limit altogether. 

The claim limit on items stolen in outbuildings is typically around £1,500. 

Contents limits of car insurance policies tend to range from £100 to £1,000.

That means if you’re buying Christmas gifts for all the family and hiding them in the car, you might not have enough cover to replace everything if they are stolen. 

Sarah says: “Customers should consider carefully if sheds and cars are really the best places to store their purchases.”

What to watch out for

In or on top of a wardrobe is the most common place to hide gifts, while 17% of people stash presents under the bed and 12% put them in the loft. 

And 38% of people are so good at hiding their gifts, they’ve forgotten where they have an item – sometimes never finding them again. 

Many people will be doing their Christmas shopping early this year to help spread their spending as the cost of living continues to rise.

Households are having to deal with price rises on everything from groceries and energy bills to toys and petrol. 

We spoke to one mum who got all her Christmas shopping done by September. 

And while it’s good to be organised, you should also be mindful of how you store your haul. 

People spend an average of £585 on Christmas presents, but one in 10 shoppers expect to splash out more than £1,000. 

These hauls may not be covered if they are stolen or damaged and you’ve stored them out of the house. 

Read the terms and conditions on your insurance policy, and when you're shopping around for insurance watch out for the claim limits.

Martin Lewis has recently urged drivers to check their car insurance ahead of a big change next month.

And we've looked at the exact day to renew your insurance to get the best deal.

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