There are many important steps we can take to keep our home safe from break-ins over the holidays, as we travel and bring new gifts home. Most break-ins are opportunistic burglaries, and Christmas is the time when many thieves are looking for the insecure home.
You can help prevent thieves targeting your home by carrying out a few simple common sense measures.
Always lock all outside doors and windows when you go out, including garage windows and doors, especially if the garage has an internal door leading to the main house. Lock your garden tools and ladders away and always keep your house keys in a safe place. Burglars know to look under a mat, pull the string and key through the letter box, or move the large stone near the front/back door.
When heading out for the evening, put a light on, put the radio or TV on and leave a small gap in the curtains so that a light can be seen.
If you are going away for a longer time, use timers to control Christmas lights and indoor lamps, and ask a neighbour to take in your mail and newspapers and clear your walks and driveway of snow when needed. Consider having a trusted person spend some time inside your house each day. If you leave a car in the driveway, consider having that same person move it periodically to make it appear as if its being used.
Turn your telephone ringer off and don’t leave outgoing phone or email messages to indicate that you are away. Be careful of posting information about your travel plans or expensive gifts on social media.
Do not display your Christmas tree & gifts in a window visible from the street. Criminals may be tempted to smash the window to steal packages or plan a break-in. After Christmas, do not leave empty gift boxes by the garbage or put them our for curbside recycling. This is an advertisement for thieves. Collapse the boxes, cut them up to conceal the items or take them directly to your community recycling depot.
Review your home insurance plan, and be aware that there are limits for how long your home can be left empty for coverage to remain valid.
Insurance agents are encouraged to review these tips with their clients, as well as to be aware of the limitations of their client’s insurance policies.
Are you an insurance agent looking to boost your home insurance knowledge? ILScorp offers a variety of accredited online continuing education courses, as well as licensing programs. Many of our most popular courses are on sale for the month of December. Visit ILScorp.com to learn more.