The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year! Good food, time off of work, lots of gifts and quality family time; what else could you want? As a lot of families don’t live that close to each other, the holiday season is a very popular time for travelling. However, travelling during the holidays can be a great opportunity for home intruders and burglars.
Going away and leaving your house for extended periods of time can be risky, especially if you don’t take proper precautions. To keep your home safe and secure while you’re away and keep intruders out, make sure to follow our important tips.
Five tips to keep your home safe while you're away
1. Remember to lock everything
While this first tip may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, you’d be surprised by how many people forget to lock their doors. In fact, 32 per cent of all burglars enter their victims’ homes through unlocked doors. Before you leave for your trip, double check that all entrances are locked – this includes back doors, garage doors, basement doors and even windows. A burglar will enter through any point of entry if they have the opportunity! Another thing to remember is to remove any spare keys that you may have hidden previously. Especially if they are located outside or in common hiding places. Intruders will most likely search for hidden keys before trying to break into your house.
Once all the entry ways are secured, it is now time to lock up your valuables. This can include things such as jewellery, electronics or anything of value. If you do not have a safe, or somewhere to lock these things up, there are other ways to protect them. Take them with you on your trip or leave them with a trusted friend of family member while you’re gone.
2. Invest in a good security system
A good security system is super easy to come across, and not as expensive as they used to be. It is recommended that at the very least, everyone has an intruder alarm system installed in their home. There are also many extra security options available to you for that added layer of protection.
Nowadays, you can purchase security systems that allow you to view live footage of your home remotely from your phone or computer. It will notify you if it detects any movement or unusual activity on your property. You can then stream your camera feed live and see what is going on in your home. Another good security system involves motion sensors. There are motion sensors that you can install on your property that will give off a noise or set off flood lights if any movement is detected. These are a great way to scare off potential intruders at a more affordable price point.
If you have any security system mentioned above, or any in general, a great way to further protect your home is to actually advertise that you have said security system. Most companies will provide you with branded stickers when you purchase their security product. Place these stickers on places where they’re most likely to be seen, such as doors and windows. If an intruder is aware that you have a security system in place, they will think twice before attempting to enter your home.
3. Make it look like someone is home
If an intruder believes that someone is in a house, they will not try to enter! One way to make it appear that your house has people in it is through the lighting. Get timers for all of your lights, including the porch lights, and set them to turn on daily when it begins to get dark outside. It is not recommended that you leave your lights on the entire time that you’re away. This is because it is unrealistic to keep the lights on 100 per cent of the time. A light that never turns off is suspicious.
Another tip is to not take down, or turn off, holiday decorations while you’re away. Having decorations, especially those that you keep on your front lawn, kept up but not turned on is a red flag that you’re celebrating the holidays elsewhere. Try to set these to turn on daily with a timer as well.
There are also tons of other things you can do to make it look like someone is home. A common tactic is to ask a neighbour to park in your driveway to make it appear as if the house is not empty. Asking them to take out and/or collect your trash, and collect any mail or packages while you’re gone also helps to keep up the appearance that you are home. It is recommended to also keep all of your regular home maintenance scheduled, such as someone you have hired to shovel your snow. An unshoveled driveway in a snowy winter is a major tip off that no one has been home for a while.
4. Keep all travel plans offline
While the internet can be a great tool and resource for many things, it can also be a very dangerous place, especially in regards to social media. No social media account is 100 per cent private. With a few clicks of a button, almost anyone can access your profile, and you will never even know it. This is why you should never post about trips away from home on the internet. Posting about a vacation makes you a very easy target for a potential break-in. Intruders can read your posts and figure out the date that you left your house, and how long will you be gone for.
If you want to share photos or stories from your vacation, it is recommended that you wait to do so after you have gotten home. Also, please remember to never have your address publicly listed on your social media profiles. The more information an intruder has, the easier it will be for him to potentially rob you.
5. Have a good home insurance policy
Even if you do everything you possibly can to make your home safe and secure while you’re away, sometimes unfortunate situations like robberies still happen. That’s why it’s incredibly important for you to make sure that your home insurance policy is a strong one. Speak with your broker about the specifics of your policy and double check that you have an adequate amount of coverage for the amount of valuables you have in your household.
Need a home insurance policy? You’ve come to the right place!
Finding home insurance can be a lot of work. Luckily, at BrokerLink we do that work for you! A BrokerLink broker will shop around for the best price and the best coverage. Visit us online, give us a call, or stop by one of our community branches.