Blood was left on a rug, curtains and blinds were trashed and the rest of the house ransacked in one of AA Insurance's biggest burglary claims.

The claim saw burglars take their actions to a new level after those involved in ransacking a Christchurch home ended up taking a "mini-holiday" there, the insurance giant says.

Customer relations manager Amelia Macandrew said the customer returned from a holiday to find a window next to the front door had been forced open and discovered the burglars spent a few days inside.

"Astonishingly the burglars then look to have had their own mini-holiday at the inner city property for several days.


"Before departing they ransacked the house, vandalised the curtains and blinds, bled over an expensive rug, and stole a significant number of items including jewellery, electronics, tools and firearms. Our customer's contents claim was covered for $60,000."

Macandrew said while these "brazen" burglary cases were rare, it was still a traumatic experience for homeowners.

"So it was important for us to get their claim sorted as quickly as possible and they could get on with their lives," she says.

"For others, the timing of the event can be additionally devastating."

She also confirmed it was "one of the highest claims" the company had handled recently.

Another customer's home was burgled on Christmas Day.

AA Insurance's Amelia Macandrew says brazen burglaries, like the one in Christchurch, are rare. Photo/AA Insurance
AA Insurance's Amelia Macandrew says brazen burglaries, like the one in Christchurch, are rare. Photo/AA Insurance

She had been away for only a few days and had asked a friend to visit to feed the animals.

"While there on Christmas Day, the friend discovered that burglars had gained access to the home by breaking the ranchslider, as well as forcing entry into the garage. Almost $16,000 worth of items were stolen, including tools, electronics, bikes, outdoor items, clothing and jewellery."

According to the latest AA Insurance Home Security Survey, one-third of Kiwis have experienced a break-in or burglary, with a reported 22 per cent happening while homeowners were away on holiday or a long weekend.

"It's been interesting to note that there have been 30 per cent fewer burglary and theft claims over the 12-month period ending January 2017 than the previous year, yet the total amount paid has stayed the same, around $8 million.

"It may be that Kiwis have more expensive items in their homes, or that burglars are becoming pickier."

While the most prolific months for burglaries can vary year on year, AAI tended to see more claims during the first few months of the year, such as during Christmas break, long weekends and public holidays, she says.

Tips to reduce your burglary risk
• There are a wide range of security options to help protect your home that often complement each other, such as alarms, security lights, and deadlocks on doors and windows. But they'll only work if you use them, even if you aren't out for long.

• Let your neighbours know what to do if your alarm is triggered, even by accident, and be sure you know what to do if theirs activates. Rather than approaching a thief, call the police or, if it's safe to do so, gather information like a description of the culprit and a licence plate number to help them track the offender.

• Make sure your valuables, including TVs and stereos, cannot be seen from the outside of your home, and your jewellery is well hidden.

• Make it difficult for someone to break into your home. Lock your shed, put away your tools and wheelie bins, and trim trees and shrubs so there are no places for burglars to hide.

• If you're out the back of your house don't leave windows or doors open at the front.

• Let your neighbours know if you're going to be away, give them your contact phone number, and ask them to clear your mail, put washing on the line, or park in your driveway.

• Be careful when disposing of any tell-tale packaging for TVs, gaming consoles and new purchases.

• Look after your house and car keys, by keeping them away from your front door, and not putting personal details on them like your name, number or address.