Market Overview

Summer Vacation + Facebook/Instagram - here's why thieves love them both

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TORONTO, June 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With true Canadian summer weather on the horizon, many of us are starting to take advantage of the weather with trips away from home. And with the most popular vacation months just ahead, Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country's leading providers of home, auto, leisure and business insurance, is reminding all Canadians to take precautions, in particular with social media, to protect their homes and belongings from theft while away from the home.

2014 Data from Aviva Canada clearly shows that residential burglary claims increase dramatically over the summer months. Compared to February – which has the lowest frequency of burglaries – July and August show an increase of 24% and 32%, respectively.

July and August are very popular months for families to go on vacation. When you couple that with the use of social media, unfortunately people are putting themselves in a position to be a likely target for burglaries. Keep your vacation itineraries and location data off social media.

"Everyone is on social media now, and while it might seem like a great idea to share pictures during your vacation, I would recommend holding off until you are back home. Also, refrain from posting information about your vacation prior to departure, particularly the destination and duration, stated Wayne Ross, Vice President, National Property Claims. This is the sort of information thieves are looking for."

Aviva Canada suggests these precautions:

  • Keep your upcoming vacation plans off of social media and remind your kids to do the same. While you may be diligent with who can see what you post, some of your friends may not have tight privacy settings. Consider how and when you are posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media platform you may use.
  • Upgrade the locking systems on your doors and windows. Also inspect window or door frames to ensure thieves could not easily force entry.
  • Ensure all windows and doors are locked when out of the home or overnight.
  • Make a home look occupied when you're away. Park a car in the driveway, leave some lights and a radio on, ask a neighbour to collect mail and newspapers and mow your lawn.
  • Install a security device with a loud alarm or flashing lights. Some alarms contact authorities directly when they have been activated.
  • Do a home inventory with your video camera, it will take minutes, but will save you the stress and heartache of listing all of your possessions.

Value of thefts increasing

While the frequency of burglary is on the decline in Canada, the value of property being stolen is on the rise. For Aviva Canada, the average value of a burglary claim has increased 43.7% over the last five years from $6,270 to $9,012. This can be attributed to the value of easier to steal and sell items such as jewelry, tablet and laptop computers, cell phones, video cameras and gaming consoles. "Thieves are generally not after larger items such as big screen TVs and stereo systems," Ross added.

Friday is a favourite for thieves

Aviva insurance claims data also indicates that break-ins are more common at the start of the weekend, with Friday showing the greatest incidence at 27% higher than Sunday, the day with the lowest incidence of break-ins. Monday also shows a high rate of break-in frequency at 20% higher than Sunday.

Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia trend higher than rest of Canada
Based on Aviva Canada data from 2010 to 2014, Quebec homeowners have the highest frequency of break-ins at almost two times that of the national average. At just over one third of the national average, the Atlantic Provinces have the lowest frequency of burglary claims.
Province - Frequency of Burglaries (vs. National Average)
Quebec - 88% above the national average
British Columbia - 31% above the national average
Manitoba- 28% above the national average
Alberta - 5% below the national average
SK, NT, NU, YK* - 18% below the national average
Ontario - 18% below the national average
Atlantic Provinces* - 64% below the national average
*Burglary claim counts in NB, NF, NS, PE, SK, NT, NU and YK were combined due to low frequency.

If you return home to find you've been the victim of a burglary, contact your insurance broker as soon as possible after alerting the authorities. Aviva also offers a single point of contact to begin the claims process quickly and efficiently. The toll-free claims line is 1-866-MY AVIVA, and it's open 24/7 so customers can talk to an Aviva Claims Care Advisor immediately.

About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in Canada providing home, auto and business insurance to more than three million customers. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc and has more than 3,000 employees, 25 locations and 1,700 independent broker partners. Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund; Canada's longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $5.5 million to over 100 communities nationwide.

For more information visit AvivaCanada.com, our blog or our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Glenn Cooper, Senior Manager, Public Relations and Social Media Aviva Canada Inc. Desk: (416) 288-2685, Mobile: (416) 523-3225, glenn_cooper@avivacanada.com
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