Don't give thieves invite - insurers

By Cassandra Mason news@hbtoday co nz

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Hawke's Bay residents should be careful who they invite over this holiday season because if something gets stolen, insurance might not cover it.

AA Insurance is warning holidaymakers to be wary when they open their doors, whether it be to friends, acquaintances or someone doing work around the house.

"If you're having a party and are concerned about your valuables, then take steps to keep them safe and out of view, monitor who is invited into your home, and be careful not to extend an open invitation to people whom you have not met," AA head of customer relations Suzanne Wolton said.

One AA customer lost $7800 worth of jewellery and alcohol when her teenage son had a party that got out of hand.

Even though the son didn't know some of the guests, the thefts weren't covered because he willingly let them into the home.

Another customer had her credit card, watch and clothing stolen by a handyman who was painting her bathroom.

Because he had permission to be on the property, she wasn't covered.

A Napier Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator, who didn't want to be named, said locals needed to report any suspicious behaviour.

"If there is a car [doing] rounds in your street, or any suspicious looking person that you normally don't see ... immediately notify police and contact the Neighbourhood Support so we can inform everybody in the street."

Neighbours needed to look out for one another during the holiday period, especially if houses were going to be left empty, she said.

According to a recent AA Insurance home security survey, four in 10 New Zealanders have experienced a break-in or burglary, with close to a quarter of break-ins happening when people were away for more than 24 hours.

"It's a good rule to tell your neighbours when you're away so they can keep an eye out for people or vehicles around the property that aren't normally there," Ms Wolton said.

"However, refrain from announcing that you're on holiday on social media. Unless you have very strict privacy settings, you may inadvertently inform people you don't know that your home will be empty."

Police are also calling on people to be vigilant, even though many criminals appeared to "take a holiday".

National prevention manager Bruce Bird said the rate of criminal offending usually dropped about 27 per cent on Christmas Day.

Mr Bird agreed that communicating with neighbours was a good way to reduce the risk of having your house broken into while you were away.

"It is also a great idea to swap holiday addresses and let each other know if you are expecting visitors or trades people while you are away," Mr Bird said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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