As the strangest of years draws to a close, we can all look forward to taking a few well-earned days to relax and reflect. While for many of us, Christmas won't be the usual joyous coming-together of those we're closest to, it is starting to feel like there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.

For those who celebrate the festivities, Christmas is a time to give special gifts to those we care about, but it's important to make sure that those precious items are protected with the right insurance.  

While it isn't at all unusual for us to be asked to insure new acquisitions after Christmas (and other special occasions), this is often sought much later as an afterthought. This can lead to potential underinsurance.

One of the benefits of the insurers we work with is that they build in a provision for new acquisitions. In most cases this is automatic cover for up to 25% of the sum insured per section, lasting for 60 days, after which point insurers must be notified and the items will be added with an additional premium calculated from the date they were acquired. Insurers reserve their right to restrict or decline cover in certain circumstances.  

While it is advisable to inform us as soon as possible about new purchases, we understand that this isn't always practical. But as Christmas gift piles start to grow, now could be the best time to let us know of specific items that should be added to your policy, or your general contents sum insured.

If you are buying gifts now and your policy covers new acquisitions, this provision can range from 30 days to 90 days, so it could be worth adding a reminder in your diary to check you have updated your insurer/broker within a month of acquisition.

As mentioned, the exact level of cover provided to automatically insure new acquisitions varies between insurers, so if you are in any doubt please let us know.

If you have purchased an automotive gift, your existing insurance policy may provide automatic cover for vehicles acquired throughout the year. This is usually provided on a similar basis to your household policy, where it is based on a percentage of the total sum insured and requiring notice within a defined period of time. To ensure your new purchase is covered, we'd advise informing Lockton in advance.

We understand you may be hesitant to add special, surprise gifts to your policy, just in case your insurer  or broker sends policy documentation that ruins your surprise – with your permission we can of course be discreet where necessary.

We are available throughout the Christmas period to help you make any changes to your policy, with the exception of weekends and public holidays. It is usual for our insurers to close their offices at lunchtime on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, so if you do need to make last minute changes to your policy, please do give us as much notice as possible.

All that remains is for everyone at Lockton to wish you and your families a very happy and peaceful Christmas.