NEW research has shown a sharp spike in insurance claims for mobiles and tablets as burglars increasingly target next generation devices.
Figures show such items now account for around a fifth (19 per cent) of all insurance claims.
By contrast, claims for larger devices such as TVs and laptops have fallen by a third to 13 per cent, indicating a clear change in tack from burglars.
Bicycles remain by far the most stolen item, constituting 17 per cent of all claims.
The research highlighted the need for households to be more vigilant as winter approaches, with a fifth of all claims (19 per cent) occurring in January and February.
Top 10 items favoured by burglars (and percentage of total insurance claims):
1. Bicycles - 17 per cent
2. Mobile Phones - 11 per cent
3. Power tools - 10 per cent
4. Laptops - 10 per cent
5. Tablets - 9 per cent
6. Cameras - 8 per cent
7. Golf equipment - 7 per cent
8. Gardening tools - 7 per cent
9. Audio equipment - 5 per cent
10. TVs - 3 per cent
Here are six top tips to help keep your belongings safe:
Tablets and phones now often come with security features that allow users to track their device. Ensure this is turned on as it will help police locate your device should it be stolen. If you are burgled, also call your contract provider immediately and have the line and phone blocked.
Try not to leave packaging for new expensive goods outside your home. It is better to take it to a public recycling bin, as this can attract burglars.
If you leave the house empty for long periods of time, it may be worth investing in timed lights or just leaving an internal light on to deter burglars.
If you keep power tools or garden equipment in an outbuilding or shed, make sure the shed is locked and/or has security features such as an alarm or security light.
If you own a bicycle, make a note or take photographs of any frame numbers that may be present. This makes it easier for police to find and return your bicycle should it be stolen.
Keep receipts of any expensive electrical items, but do not keep them with items. Any unwanted receipts should be shredded.