Home security tips for the holidays
IT’S that time of year again when families take a break and head out for an annual holiday. Before you go, here’s a checklist that you can use to make sure your home is secured over the holidays.
1. Check and review household insurance
Check that your household insurance is up to date and remains valid for the time you are away
You should also check for any exclusions that may render the policy void, for instance, would you still be covered if you were away for more than a certain number of dates and if you should notify your insurer of a housesitter.
2. Ask someone reliable to check in on your home every now and then
Not everyone has the financial means to hire a house-sitter but we all have neighbours and friends.
Provide them with your contact information and give them a key so they can take in the post or gain access to your home if there’s an emergency.
3. Store important documents and valuables safely
You can keep these in a secure place in your home or deposit them in a bank. 4. Secure all windows and doors Take a tour around the house to ensure that all the windows are secure and that all the doors have been locked. Fit ground floor windows with locks and make certain that all exterior doors have deadbolt locks.
You can add extra security to a sliding door using a deadbolt or wooden dowel which can be placed in the groove of the door tracks. It won’t stop burglars from shattering the glass, but it will make this a less desirable entry option.
5. Make sure that there are no noticeable signs that your home is unoccupied
Before leaving, mow the lawn, remove washing from the line and take in the refuse and recycling bins.
Advise your local neighbourhood watch that you’ll be away so that they can help keep an eye on your property. Never leave the keys to your home under a doormat or plant pot outside.
Having curtains drawn throughout the day may appear suspicious, so leave them exactly as you would when you’re at home. Make sure any valuables such as laptops are not visible from the window.
Give the impression that your home is occupied by installing timer switches that turn the lights on and off. They are inexpensive and easy to operate. Some can even be programmed remotely using a smartphone app.
Consider installing motion-sensitive lights on your property, and if you have these, make sure all the bulbs work before you leave. 6. Test your security system Test your home security alarm and monitoring just before you go away to make sure that it’s working properly.
Be sure to call your security company to inform them that you’ll be away, so that any alert gets taken seriously immediately.
7. Avoid discussing holiday plans with strangers
Likewise, don’t post detailed plans of your holiday on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And never leave an answering machine message indicating that you’re not home. Rather say that you cannot take the call at that time.
If you are flying, don’t attach the labels to your luggage until you get to the airport check-in. — Property24
NOT everyone has the financial means to hire a house-sitter but we all have neighbours and friends. Ask them to keep an eye on your property.