Winter is upon us and that means households across Ireland should be enjoying cosy evenings by the fire in the company of family and friends.
However, while warm nights in front of the telly can be a wonderful thing, a somewhat scary aspect of this more wintry time of year lies in the fact that burglaries have in recent years become more commonplace as the darker nights draw in.
Indeed, while new Garda figures show this trend may now be coming to an end, an overall rise in burglary statistics was witnessed in 2017. Overall, the Garda's data showed that burglaries most commonly occur between the hours of 5pm and 10pm each evening.
Household theft is therefore a serious a concern for people across the country, with AIG's own figures showing the average settlement on a household theft claim currently stands at €4,970. This is no small amount of money, and highlights the need for people to be extra vigilant when safeguarding their home and belongings.
But are we seeing the full picture? Could households be under-insuring their goods and missing out on receiving the true value of their items when making a claim? It's a prospect that all home insurance policyholders must consider.
In general, the most common types of claim in domestic burglary cases are for jewellery, money and portable electronic devices, like mobile phones or tablets, as these are items that thieves can easily take with them to make a fast getaway. In addition, items like bicycles, antiques, golf clubs and the contents of outbuildings also make for easy targets.
As a result, individuals hoping to ensure they have sufficient insurance cover in place should focus on identifying the true value of these belongings, and updating their insurance to reflect the true value of their goods.
On average, the value of individual items that are claimed for in the event of a burglary stands at €324. However, there are many instances where items will exceed this value and leave households under-insured as a result.
For example, serious cycling enthusiasts may spend hundreds of euros to purchase their bike, while the associated accessories needed for safe riding, such as helmet, lights and reflective clothing, can also add to the total costs incurred.
At the same time, a beginner's set of golf clubs may cost anywhere from €200 to €400, but for more professional clubs, these too can run into the hundreds of euros each - meaning a full set could be worth thousands, and not something any respecting golf lover would want to see lost and go unreplaced.
Finally, jewellery is a common item that households will want to have individually insured. Indeed, a recent poll by The Vow.ie showed that the typical engagement ring in Ireland last year cost an average of a month's wages. This equates to more than €2,800, making this one of the most valuable single items that many households will own.
As we've seen, winter generally sees a rise in household insurance claims across the country and, as a result, now is precisely the time to ensure your home contents cover is fully up to date.