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The holiday host’s financial checklist

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26/11/2014
The cost of hosting family for the holidays can go well beyond a perfectly trimmed tree. It pays to get your financial house in order before guests arrive.

Here are five ways to protect your home – and your bank account – through the festive season.

Add additional drivers to your car insurance policy

If you have adult family members coming to stay consider adding them temporarily to your car insurance police. Most providers will allow you to add additional drivers for any period between one and 28 days, giving you much greater flexibility. Not only you save time doing pick-ups and drop-offs, the single insured driver won’t be forced into an involuntarily dry Christmas.

All you need to do to add other drivers – usually you can add up to four – is call your provider and give them some simple information. In turn your provider will give you a price for the extra cover. The cost will vary between providers but may include a small administration fee.

Make an energy-saving plan

LED Christmas lights cost six times less power than traditional lights, according to the Energy Saving Trust, meaning that if every British household used these energy saving bulbs on their trees the nation would save £9.7m

But the savings don’t stop there – some serious savings are possible outside, too. An extravagant holiday lights display outside can cost as much as £100 to run through the month of December.

Unplugging your tree when you go to bed, trying to cook multiple dishes at a time and closing your curtains at night to save on heating can also help you finish the most expensive month of the year well under-budget.

Get accidental damage cover

Nieces and nephews can be a joy to host over the holidays, but a glass of red wine being  dumped on your white carpet during a game gone awry is not ideal. Many home insurance policies don’t cover accidents like spills and breakages as standard; if you’re having children come to stay you should consider adding accidental coverage just in case.

Accidental damage cover will typically hike up your premium by around 20 per cent per year, but you’ll be glad you ponied up when little Timmy chucks a football through the plate glass garden door. Remember that children are covered but pets often aren’t, and your electronics will probably already be covered under your standard policy.

Update your contents cover

If you’re giving any expensive gifts be sure to update your contents insurance.The holidays are prime time for burglars, with long nights and ample opportunity to scout for expensive presents, often advertised by boxes left by the bins. Be sure you’re adequately protected.

This isn’t a time to guess. Research the value (or double check your receipts). When you have a total go for a slightly higher figure to cover all of your bases.

Hunt for discounts

With the supermarket price war heating up, this is the Christmas to hunt for a bargain. From discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl – the latter of which is famed for its wine selection – to Christmas coupon hubs on discount websites like Topcashback there are deals to be had in store and online alike.

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