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Your car and home are most likely to be broken into during the day, according to the latest claims data from AA Insurance. Between January 2011 and December 2011, 73.2 percent of all burglary claims were recorded for incidents that occurred within the hours of 6am and 6pm.
The most common items stolen from homes are electrical goods (TVs, laptops, phones and MP3 players) followed by clothing and jewellery. According to AA insurance data the average cost for jewellery claims is $2,483, followed by $1,524 for personal items, and $1,810 for electrical goods.
Burglary claims were much more common for homes without any form of alarm installed. From 2009 to 2011, 13 percent of AA Insurance's residential burglary claims were for homes with an audible alarm, while 16 percent of claims came from homes that were monitored. However, claims from homes with no alarm installed were more than double (60 percent).
"Securing your home both at night when you are asleep, and during the day when you are out, should be common sense for all New Zealanders. Our claims data clearly shows that having a house alarm installed and warning stickers on display deters thieves," said Martin Fox, Head of Operations at AA Insurance.
Thieves will use any means they can to gain entry into your house. One AA Insurance customer reported that her house was broken into by thieves who used the rubbish bin to climb through the bedroom window.
"Simple things like leaving a recycling bin outside your home or letting your mail pile up while on holiday can be an advertisement that your property is unoccupied," continued Martin. "Asking a trusted neighbour to look after your mail and recycling can reduce signals that you're not at home."
Between 2009 and 2011 AA Insurance received the highest number of burglary and theft from vehicle claims from Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Securing your car and its valuable contents wherever you are parked is equally important. AA Insurance data shows that electrical goods, eyewear, laptops, and tools are most commonly stolen from cars. In 2008-2009 the average cost of a theft from a motor vehicle claim was $1,649, which rose to $1,850 in 2010-2011.
One customer had parked her car to go a popular lookout spot, but when she returned a window had been smashed and all contents, including clothes, cameras, phones, and even a chilly bin containing food, had been stolen.
"Thieves can strike at any time, even if your back is turned for a moment," said Martin. "Photographing valuable contents in their locations and writing down the make, model, and serial number can be a great help if you ever need to make a claim."
Another claim example involved a customer who packed his fishing gear late at night to prepare for an early start. The next morning he awoke to find a car window smashed and all his expensive fishing equipment gone.
AA Insurance also recommends securing your home electronic devices with a password. "Making sure electronic devices such as computers, laptops wireless routers, and smartphones are password-protected can help prevent further complications of identity theft if your devices are stolen following a break in."
Tips to securing your home and car contents
* Lock all doors and close the windows of your house when you leave or go to bed
* Install an alarm and intruder lights at home
* Don't leave tools or ladders outside that can be used to break into your house
* Always lock your car, no matter where you park
* Keep bags, luggage, and coats in the boot of the car and out of sight
* If your car is kept in a garage, ensure the garage and car are locked
This information has been compiled and released by AA Insurance.