Households across the country are being urged to check their home insurance policies as the nights draw in ahead of winter.
Charity Age UK says long dark nights offer a wealth of opportunity to burglars, while the wintry weather can pose a greater risk to homes.
Gordon Morris, managing director of Age UK Enterprises, said: "With the end of British Summer Time just around the corner and winter fast approaching we all need to think about any adaptations we have to make for the changing season.
Alongside considerations about when to put the heating on and safety as it gets dark we should also be thinking about our homes and how they will fare when the cold snap comes, as winter weather can be tough. It is also a good time to review your home insurance policy to understand your cover."
"As with all insurance products, it is crucial to read the small print of your home insurance policy and be aware of any exceptions which could have an impact on your claim."
Age UK has the following tips to help you protect your home this wintertime:
- Keep your valuables out of sight, away from windows, and remember to draw the curtains in the evenings.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are securely locked when you leave your house – even if you only go out for a short period of time.
- If travelling away from home, inform a trusted neighbour or family member and provide them with a contact telephone number.
- Make your home seem occupied during the dark winter evenings – installing timers on lamps is often a good idea.
- Protect pipes from cold and icy weather as this can cause blockages, cracks and breakdowns.
- Keep your claims helpline number easily to hand in case you need to make a claim or require assistance in an emergency.
- Keep gutters, gullies and drains clear to carry water away quickly and efficiently.