Securing your home when you go on holidays
Whether it is a trip to the great Australian outback or the Bahamas, going away on holidays is a chance to escape the day-to-day and relax. So, as well as having home insurance
, 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.
We've prepared some helpful suggestions specifically about preparing your home for when you go away on holiday. These ideas fit well with our guide to Securing your home against theft: top ten tips and many are even useful for day-to-day security.
Naturally it's important to have the entry points to your home secured appropriately. But it's just as important to double check and make sure all those entry points are actually closed and the locks fastened. It's often a rush of last minute organisation when you are leaving on a trip and one idea is to lock everything up the night prior to departure, particularly if you are leaving early in the morning. This will make your departure easier and ensure that you don't accidentally leave your home unsecured and vulnerable.
Avoid the dark
Thieves like to go about their work unobserved. 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.
Interior activity: lights, radio and more
Put some lamps on timers inside rooms that can come on in the early evening and switch off at bedtime. This may give the appearance to the casual observer that someone is at home in the evening. Try and avoid rooms being lit that can be observed from the outside through curtains.
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 may trick the casual observer into thinking that the residents are at home.
You may also make your home less approachable by installing a dog-barking alarm. As an alternative to a real dog, the angry barrage of dog barking sounds from the alarm system may be an efficient way to scare off would-be intruders.
Pay your bills
You should remember to pay your bills in advance - particularly the electricity - so that your alarm system and other electricity-reliant preventative security measures will have power during your absence.
You may wish to leave your house keys with trustworthy friends or family so that they can conduct regular check-ups on your property. You may also want to foster a friendly relationship with your neighbour and seek their help to watch over your property.
Don't let mail pile up
Nothing advertises an empty house better than an overflowing mailbox. Organise family, friends or neighbours to collect your mail to prevent letters from piling up in the post box. If that is not possible consider a short-term mail redirect during your absence.
Comings and goings
Consider asking a family member, friend or neighbour to park in your driveway. The regular movements of a vehicle may create the illusion that the residents are still home.
If possible don't make your departure obvious. One way is to pack your car in the garage or at the far end of the driveway. Unless you park in a secure garage don't pack the car the night before as it will be both a target for a break-in and an indicator that you are going on holidays.
Keep a detailed inventory
You should also ensure that if your property is stolen it is easily identifiable. It is useful to keep a detailed inventory of all your valuable property in a safe place. This may involve photographing, marking or engraving the items. It is important to note that only an item with a hard surface may be engraved or marked. Engraving or marking your item should be done with a traceable number such as your driver licence number or a special code that only you know. The act of doing so may prevent others from identifying your property as theirs.
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