Holidays are a time to relax and unwind, not create major headaches and stress. If you’re heading out of town, these simple precautions can help to keep your home safe and give you peace of mind while you are away.
Talk to the neighbors that you trust
Sometimes, when we go away, none of our friends or family can watch the house, so we need to ask someone else. Asking your neighbors to help look after the house can keep your mind at ease, since they are so close by and will know if anything goes wrong. Ask them nicely to take out your rubbish bins, bring in your mail or feed your pets (if they’re not going to a pet holiday villa themselves). Just remember to let them know where you’ll be and when you’ll be home so they can contact you if anything were to happen.
Avoid the dark
Thieves like to go about their work in the dark. Having exterior lights activated by motion sensors can light up the dark areas around your home at night. Being in the spotlight may just deter criminals from targeting your property. It will also help your neighbors, if you’ve let them know you have gone away and suddenly the lights go on, they will think something is suspicious and check it out.
Lock it up
It’s important to have the entries to your home secured and it’s just as important to double check; making sure that all entry points are actually closed and the locks fastened. The best way to secure your home and protect your belongings is to invest in a home security system. They can be your eyes on your home when you aren’t there and can even be set up to trigger the police as soon someone breaks in. This will make your departure easier and ensure that you don’t accidentally leave your home unsecured and vulnerable.
Coming and going
Before going away, try to minimize all coming and going from your house such as mail, subscriptions, bills, deliveries, workers etc. You should pay your bills in advance – particularly the electricity – so that your alarm system or other electricity-reliant security measures will have power during your absence. Don’t forget to cancel your newspaper or grocery delivery and tell the gardener you won’t be needing his services for a while. If you’re away for an extended period of time, you can ask the post office hold your mail.
Be mindful about broadcasting your holiday plans
With the rise of social media, it’s all too easy to forget that, whilst we believe we’re connecting only with friends and trusted people, much of what we say and post is public, searchable, and easy for people to take advantage of. Changing settings on facebook so that your profile and posts can only be visible by the people you’re friends with is a good start. Make only a few post about it and only tell very close friends and family the big details to keep your privacy, and once you’re home, then go crazy with photos!
Putting some lamps on timers inside rooms that can come on in the early evening and switch off at bedtime gives the appearance to the casual observer that someone is at home in the evening. Consider also setting a timer on a radio so that it switches on and off at a specified time. As with the lights on timers, it can trick someone into thinking that the residents are at home and makes it harder for anyone to break in.
Keep a detailed inventory
In the unlikely chance your house gets robbed, keeping a detailed inventory of all your valuable property in a safe place can help speed up the process when it comes to insurance. This may involve photographing, marking or engraving the items. Engraving or marking your item should be done with a traceable number such as your driver license number or a special code that only you know. Doing this makes your items easily identifiable and easier to find.
Long before you head off, make sure your home and contents insurance is up to date and you have a copy of the policy details easy to hand. Having a home insurance policy won’t prevent damage to your home or belongings, but it may help provide a financial safety net should the unexpected occur. If you have a policy in place, you may be better equipped to get through any crisis, knowing that your insurance may help cover the cost of damages and get on your feet again.
Going away on holidays is a chance to escape and relax. But it’s important to have your home properly prepared to avoid unnecessary worry or, worse still, a message from home that someone has broken in.