Millions to risk home security this Christmas

Santander is urging households to consider other ways of protecting their home and not to risk house fires by leaving tree lights on for prolonged periods or when the property is unoccupied.

Santander’s survey also revealed that the use of social networking sites over the festive season could compromise home security, with 43% of people, who will leave their homes unoccupied, intending to post updates about their whereabouts. Some 30% of those planning to go away over Christmas say they will update their Facebook status with a message about where they are and one in 10 (11%) will tweet about it. A further 2% say they will use other social networking sites to inform people about where they will be over the festive season.

The findings show that 9% of Britons will be away on Christmas Day and 7% on Boxing Day. Seven per cent will vacate their homes in the week before or after Christmas and 6% will be away from home on New Year’s Eve.

In London, the proportion of those leaving their homes unoccupied over Christmas is considerably higher, with a third (33%) choosing to do so. The trend is also more pronounced among younger people, with 27% of 18-34 year olds leaving home over the festive season compared to just 10% of those aged 55 or over.

Younger people are also more likely to leave their Christmas tree lights on and post messages on social networking sites about their location over Christmas, with three-quarters (74%) of 18-34 year olds going away over the festive period intending to post details of their whereabouts.

Richard Al-Dabbagh, Santander Insurance, said: "It’s important to protect your home over the festive period as darker nights and an abundance of valuable gifts mean that burglary and opportunistic crime is rife at this time of year. However, leaving Christmas tree lights on for prolonged periods is a potential fire hazard.

"It’s easy to forget just how valuable the contents of our homes are over Christmas as we stockpile expensive food, drinks and gifts. Comprehensive home insurance that protects these items is invaluable at this time of year, but prevention is always better that cure so we’re also advising people to take heed of some simple tips that will help to keep their homes and possessions safe this Christmas."

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