The holiday season is a time to enjoy. You have probably been looking forward to summer throughout the dark winter months and are just looking to get away for that well-earned longer break.
The fun and excitement of going away might be your dreams come true; but coming home to find that your home – or other property you own – has been ransacked is a complete nightmare.
So, what are some of the steps you need to take to secure your home when you go away, in order to avoid the crashing disappointment of such an unwelcome return?
Since it involves more than just cancelling the milk and papers and remembering to turn the gas off, here is a checklist of security considerations:
- it’s not as though you need to turn your home into Fort Knox – even simple security measures are likely to reduce the chance of your home being burgled by up to five times, say UK Police;
- the key to those simple measures lies in fitting strong deadlocks on your doors and good window locks – a brief, illustrated review of the principal devices may be found in our knowledge base;
- any keys you are not taking on holiday with you – spare car keys, the backdoor key, or keys to the shed or garage, for example – need to be kept well out of sight;
- if your budget stretches to it, install a burglar alarm – or, as a cheaper alternative, simply fix an empty burglar alarm box in a visible position at the front of the house;
- motion-detecting security lighting at both the front and rear of your property may be a further warning and discouragement for the opportunist intruder;
- lights, and even radios, on timer switches may help to conjure up the picture of there still being someone at home;
- a similar impression might be created by persuading a neighbour – especially one who owns two cars – to park one or other of them on your driveway from time to time;
- if you get on especially well with such a neighbour, and for the price of a bottle of duty-free on your return, you might even persuade him to mow the lawn and keep the garden reasonably well tended whilst you are away;
- given 5-days’ notice, the Royal Mail will set up a Keepsafe scheme for you by holding on to your mail, rather than delivering it, and storing it for you for up to 66 days;
- remember to keep locked away tools, ladders and anything else which might be used by intruders to break into your property;
- safety consciousness starts from the moment you begin packing for your holiday – even if you want to make an early start in the morning, don’t pack the car with suitcases and other items that clearly advertise the fact you’re going away, but save it until first thing the next day.
Just before you finally close your front door, it’s worth spending a minute or two running through this checklist and making doubly sure that everything is safe, secure and properly locked down.
Finally, don’t forget that if you are going to be away from your property for more than 45 consecutive days, your existing home insurance may become severely restricted or even invalid and unoccupied property insurance will typically be required.