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Home alone properties leave door open to burglars

Over the next 12 months around one in ten (9%) people are likely to jet off on an extended break of at least 30 days, leaving their properties unoccupied.

While a large proportion of these people will visit family and friends in the UK and abroad (37%), a substantial number (30%) are planning an extended trip to travel the world. A further 26% will be taking an extended holiday to escape the British weather.

Ben Tyte, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance Manager, said: "With the excitement of an extended break, it’s easy for people to get distracted and fail to check their insurance policies. We would advise anyone who is planning such a break to inform their home insurance provider and check that they are still covered by their policy whilst they are away. This really is essential and even applies if you have arranged for a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on the house.

"We find it extremely alarming that more than one in ten people (13%) taking extended breaks will advertise their absence by updating their status on social networking websites, a number that rises to 34% amongst those aged 25 to 35 years. A further 9% of people will leave a message on their home telephone or mobile to notify callers of their absence, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance strongly advises against these practices."

Sainsbury’s Home Insurance provides 60-day unoccupancy cover as standard. In the event of a home being left unoccupied for more than 60 days, providing that they are informed, the Bank will provide cover for an increased premium, as this reflects the additional risk and, as long as the customer adheres to the below points:

• Use all locks and security devices on all external doors and windows.

• Set your burglar alarm if you have one.

• Turn off the gas and electricity at the mains. If you have a burglar alarm, only turn off the gas supply.

• Arrange for your home to be checked at least every two weeks by someone aged 16 or over at the time.

In addition, during the months of October to March (inclusive) homeowners must turn off the water supply at the mains and drain the water and heating systems.

If you wish to heat your home throughout this period and your heating system uses the water supply you do not need to drain the system providing the heating is thermostatically controlled and is switched on and set to maintain a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius.

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