I know the summer hasn't been what we had expected, but still hopefully we have had a time to rest and enjoy the dry spells when we can. Hopefully most of August and September will brighten up before the nights start to draw in.
When it comes to insurance, and the protection of you and your family, the late summer months, can be glorious so it is vital that we don't become complacent, especially when lighting BBQ's or when the front doors are opening with kids running in and out. We have pulled together a few tips for you to just help make things a little less risky – especially for those who are jetting off now for a late summer break or weekend.
We hope you enjoy this summer newsletter and we would be happy to speak to you about any of your insurance needs – just drop us a line by email, pop into one of our offices.
Finally – and speaking of offices, we are pleased to announce the opening of our new office in Ballyhackamore, at 394 Upper Newtownards Road.
If you live in that area, or have family and friends in that area, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Our Belfast office telephone number is 028 95 211555
Taking In The Sun
Many of us like to make the most of the warmer weather — including thieves and burglars. Theft claims rise by 10% during the summer, and garden theft usually increases with thieves targeting tools and equipment from your shed, plants, garden furniture and ornaments. Some even use your tools to try to get into your house.
Plus, of course, open windows and doors don’t just allow fresh air in. Burglars can use them for access to your home, taking your belongings with them when they leave. And properties left empty while owners go on summer holidays also provide an attractive opportunity for burglars.
Our top tips to stop summer thieves:
1. Always lock gardening equipment and tools away when you’re not using them — and use solid locks that can’t easily be broken on your shed and garage. If you can, get a lock for your garden gate so thieves can’t get in to your garden without climbing over. You can also put a light trellis on top of your walls and fences to make climbing into your garden more difficult. And if you have any trees or shrubs near your shed, cut them back so thieves can’t hide behind them.
2. Remember to keep your ladder locked away too, or it may be used to access an open window. Although theft claims rise in the summer, there is less buildings damage during burglaries, which appears to indicate that thieves are more opportunistic at this time of year, sneaking in through open windows or doors. With this in mind, it’s always wise to be wary of leaving doors and windows open if you’re not near them.
3. If you’re off on a summer holiday, consider leaving low energy lights on a timer and asking a neighbour to check on your property and pick up your mail.
4. Remember to cancel any other deliveries while you’re away.
5. A car parked in the driveway can also give the impression that someone is at home. If you’re taking yours with you, why not ask a neighbour if they’d mind using your drive while you’re away? They might be glad of the extra parking space.
Make Barbeques Even Better
Barbecues are one of the great pleasures of summer, with the unmistakable aroma of hot coals and outdoor cooking always seeming to accompany the hottest days of the year. However, there are two major risks associated with barbecues that we should all be aware of — food poisoning and fire. We want to help make sure your barbecue is safe as well as fun, so here are some pointers to help you avoid both.
Preventing food poisoning
1. Defrost meat in the fridge — make sure it's completely defrosted before you start cooking.
2. Light the barbecue well in advance to allow time for it to heat up. The coals should be glowing red before you start to cook.
3. Pre-cook chicken in the oven before finishing it off on the barbecue.
4. Make sure you wash your hands regularly, especially if you're handling both raw and cooked food.
5. Eat the food as soon as it's ready.
1. Summer is the worst season for fire claims, with dry weather and barbecues contributing to household blazes.
2. Choose a sheltered site for your barbecue and keep it away from fences, plants or anything else that could catch fire. Make sure children and pets stay out of the way.
3. Only use lighter fuel specifically designed for barbecues and don't add any more once you've got the fire going. Keep a fire extinguisher to hand, or a bucket of water or sand.
4. Don't wear loose clothing that might catch light — wear oven gloves and use long-handled utensils.
5. Once you've finished, extinguish the fire before leaving it and make sure the coals and ashes are completely cold before you dispose of them.
6. Put ashes on your garden or compost heap, not in with your normal rubbish.
Drive Safely In The Summer
This summer you may be planning to set off in your car on a long trip, whether it's to the beach, across the country on holiday or to the airport. But the hottest days of the year see a 50% increase in motor accidents, so do be careful.
If you are involved in an accident, it’s important to write down the details as this will help us speed up the claims process for you. Include the date, time and location of the accident, the vehicles and people involved and an account of what happened, along with eyewitness accounts and a diagram of the accident. If you have a mobile phone with you, take photos of the scene and close-ups of the damage. And never admit you were at fault. It's up to the insurance companies to agree who caused the incident when they’re in possession of all the facts.
Of course, we hope you're never involved in a motor incident, but it's always best to be prepared.
Have you got the insurance you need to stay safe at home and on the road this summer?
Call us at our our Lisburn, Belfast, Banbridge, Lurgan or Dungannon offices to make sure you’ve got the right cover.