Top 5 sum­mer home se­cu­rity tips

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE - - News Canada

Most of us look for­ward to get­ting out of the house to en­joy the sun and warm weather. How­ever, when plan­ning your sum­mer va­ca­tion or gear­ing up for a sunny week­end get­away, it's im­por­tant to se­cure your home, too.

Marc Bar­beau, prop­erty claims man­ager from In­tact In­sur­ance, shares five items to in­clude on your go­ing-away check­list that will help pro­tect your home against theft or dam­age.

1. Shut­ter your home and in­vest in se­cu­rity. Not only can a mon­i­tored se­cu­rity sys­tem with a posted sign help de­ter thieves, it may also qual­ify you for a dis­count on your home in­sur­ance. Draw your cur­tains, se­cure all win­dows and doors, and make sure all locks func­tion prop­erly. In­stall jams in slid­ing win­dows and doors and a safety bar on pa­tio doors to help pre­vent ac­cess.

2. Trust a friend. Al­ways let your in­surer know if you're go­ing away for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time. Ar­range to give a set of keys to a neigh­bour or fam­ily mem­ber who can visit your home reg­u­larly to make sure ev­ery­thing is in or­der while you're away. This will help your home look lived-in and en­sure any emer­gen­cies are cov­ered.

3. Pre­vent wa­ter dam­age. In most prov­inces, wa­ter is the lead­ing cause of home dam­age. Wa­ter dam­age is ex­pen­sive and of­ten dif­fi­cult to erad­i­cate. Iden­tify and ad­dress wa­ter is­sues early to keep them from get­ting worse. Be­fore trav­el­ling, turn off the main wa­ter sup­ply valve to your plumb­ing sys­tem and drain any ap­pli­ances that hold wa­ter.

4. Un­plug. All elec­tri­cal and elec­tronic de­vices like com­put­ers, tele­vi­sions and por­ta­ble air con­di­tion­ers should be un­plugged in case a power surge oc­curs while you are away, which could dam­age your prop­erty.

5. Main­tain a record. Cre­ate an in­ven­tory of your pos­ses­sions. Take pic­tures or videos of your valu­ables and al­ways keep re­ceipts. Th­ese records may make it eas­ier for po­lice and your in­sur­ance com­pany to track items should some­thing be stolen dur­ing your ab­sence.

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