Whether it’s a week or two abroad or just a weekend road trip, taking a vacation away from home is the perfect time to get away from it all. No matter what your plans are, you’ll likely share them with friends and family on social media. Be careful about how much you do share and when you share it. Otherwise, your trip might send trouble right to your front door.
Many travellers post updates or use social media to check into hotels, tourist attractions and restaurants during their trip. While it’s tempting to share a play-by-play of all the highlights of your vacation, you could be updating more people than you realize. Your photos and updates could notify potential thieves your home is unattended. In fact, 78% of ex-burglars admit thieves monitor social media to identify target properties.
Five steps to keep your home and belongings safe while you're away
1. Limit your network
Set your social media privacy settings so only your friends can view any content you post. While it just takes a second to accept new contacts online, you should only add friends you actually know in real life. Be aware of any changes to your account’s privacy settings and restrict who can access your information.
2. Mindful content:
Try not to announce any vacation plans ahead of time or while you’re away. You should always wait until after you return to share details or photos of your trip. Plus, you don’t want to be attached to your phone or computer while you’re away, do you? Never post photos that reveal your address, neighbourhood or landmarks near your home and avoid posting any photos showing expensive items in your home.
3. Be proactive:
Security experts recommend using social media to fool potential burglars. Instead of posting a photo of a beautiful sunset from your resort, take a moment to check in to a local coffee shop from back home or write a quick update on your day at work. Create the appearance its business as usual, especially if you’re a regular social media user. It only takes a minute but it can deter thieves from targeting your home.
4. Secure your home:
Always make your home look occupied. Set timers for your lights and arrange for a neighbour or friend to collect your mail while you’re gone. Never leave a secret key hidden under your doormat- burglars know exactly where to look and this is as good as an invitation into your home. Arrange to have someone check on your home regularly, especially if you will be gone for more than three days. This is a requirement for insurance and ensures your policy remains valid.
5. Don’t forget insurance:
Take inventory of your valuable possessions, including photos, descriptions of each item and the date it was purchased. Should anything be stolen, this information will help you get proper reimbursement from the insurance company. Make sure your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance coverage is sufficient given the total value of your possessions. Your local BrokerLink broker can help make sure you have enough coverage in case of a loss.
Of course, some would argue the best vacation is the one from all technology. But if you can’t put down your smart phone or tablet, be careful with what you post, Tweet or check into. If you have questions about your home insurance coverage while on vacation, or need to arrange travel insurance, contact your BrokerLink broker. After all, peace of mind is the most important part of any vacation.