This time of the year is when property owners need to step up their landlord insurance to protect their assets against a range of potentially costly problems.

With tenants often travelling away from their rented home for Christmas, unoccupied abodes can be a major draw for would-be burglars, so it is wise for landlords to review their insurance policies sooner rather than later.

The cold winter weather can also present problems for landlords, particularly if pipes freeze or the boiler breaks down.

Break ins
The thought of piles of expensive new Christmas presents lying unguarded in homes can be tempting to criminals, so advise your tenants to keep their doors and windows locked at night and whenever they leave the house.

Remind them to never leave their keys near the front door and to quickly dispose of the packaging for any particularly expensive gifts, as burglars could attempt to get their hands on them.

Fire
With so many fairy lights, candles and electrical items being brought into the home over Christmas, there is a greater risk of fires breaking out. To negate this risk, instruct your tenants not to overload plug sockets with multiple extension leads and to always turn off illuminated Christmas decorations when leaving the house or when they go to sleep.

Plumbing
When the temperature plummets, it is likely that several households will experience the frustration of frozen pipes. This can cause extensive damage because as the water in the pipes freezes it will expand, cracking the lining of the pipes. This can lead to water escape and flooding, which is not ideal at any time of the year, let alone Christmas.

Mitigate the risk by investing in lagging for loft pipes and insulation along the whole length of pipes that run through colder parts of the property (or outside). You can also carry out a check of the exterior structure to make sure there are no holes or cracks in the walls - if there are any, fill them with caulking to keep the cold wind out.

If you do experience any problems with your rented home over the festive period, your landlord insurance supplier should be able to help with a claim.