Enjoy a silent night this Christmas

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While many people are busy worrying about whose present they forgot to buy and whether the dog will pull the Christmas tree down, an insurance company has warned that unforeseen problems can have a far bigger effect on the festive season.

Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) has offered advice to homeowners to help them avoid seasonal nightmares such as burst pipes, broken fridges and burglaries.

The organisation recommends that people ensure they are covered for accidental damage, as breakages and damage to property can easily occur when putting Christmas decorations up.

It also advises that people who plan to store a lot of food should add the contents of their freezers in case of a breakdown, which could result in costly trips to the supermarket to replace festive food.

Homeowners are warned they should keep Christmas presents out of view to avoid tempting passing burglars, as the dark of winter can provide the perfect disguise and keep heating on a low level to minimise the risk of pipes freezing and bursting.

Steve Kendall, N&P sales and operations director, said: "It's an important time of year to check the small print of your insurance policy."

He added that homeowners should always retain receipts for the cost of any repairs, which could then be used as proof for claims.

Meanwhile, insurer esure has warned people to check their home insurance policies ahead of Bonfire Night in case accidents or injuries occur.

The insurer added that fireworks, if not looked after properly, could cause people to be sued if damage or injury occurs.

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