Five ways to burglar-proof your home
More people are taking advantage of reasonably priced holiday deals to get away for a long weekend. But before you pack your bags and head off for a well-deserved break don’t forget to make sure your home insurance is up-to-date.
According to figures from Saga, almost half of burglaries happen when the homeowner is on holiday.
And to make matters worse, it is predicted that we will see the number of break-ins increase due to the economic downturn, in particular if figures recorded during the last recession - when burglaries went up by 33.8% - are anything to go by.
1. Simple steps to keep your home safe
To keep burglars from your door, make sure all doors and windows are locked and burglar alarms activated. Consider investing in deadlocks or key-operated bolts for all your external doors and key-operated metal locks to accessible windows.
Keep valuables kept out of sight, and try to avoid leaving a large amount of cash in your property. Security-mark valuables with a postcode and photograph them if possible.
2. When you go away
Lights and timer switches can be used when you leave your house for extended periods of time - whether that be a week, a long weekend or even just one night. Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property, and give them an emergency number to contact you on.
You could also consider giving them a spare pair of keys, and asking that they bring in any post or newspapers for you if you’re away for more than a couple of days. Don't be tempted to keep a key in a 'secret' hiding place as burglars know where to look and could easily find this.
Your garden can also be an attractive opportunity for thieves, and is often easier for them to access. Make sure you lock up valuables in a good quality shed - don't forget to your garden tools and ladders as these can also be used to break in to homes.
4. Make sure you're covered
It’s also important to prepare for the worst, so make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any losses should you be unfortunate enough to have your home broken into while you’re away. Finding a home insurance policy suitable for you is easy. Go to the various comparison sites or check out Moneywise's home and contents insurance Buyers' Guide.
You can also contact insurance companies directly for a quote.
5. Read the small print
Before you sign on the dotted line just make sure you read the small print to ensure you’re fully covered against all eventualities. Once you’ve got your cover in place always check your home is fully secured and locked before you go away, because if you fail to do so, your insurer might turn you down in the event that you need to claim.
Does exactly what it says on the tin: covers the contents of your home for theft and damage and also may insure certain possessions (jewellery, cycles) outside of the home. Things to watch for include the excess and also the maximum payout on individual items. Another grey area is kitchen fittings, as some contents policies say these are not contents but part of the fabric of the property and covered by buildings insurance and some buildings policies don’t cover them because they regard them as contents.