It can be easy to overlook the importance of securing your home while travelling, especially when most of your attention is focused on packing and planning your holiday.
When your home is left vacant on holidays, it increases the chances of it being targeted by thieves, vandals, or possibly even severe weather.
Thankfully, there are many ways to ensure you give your home the best fighting chance of staying secure while you’re away. Allow yourself to travel with less worry by following these top tips for keeping your home safe while on holiday.
Just as you wouldn’t think of going on holiday without first purchasing travel insurance, you should make sure you have a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy with contents coverage in place as well.
No matter how well you secure your home and safeguard it against criminals, unfortunate things can still happen.Most home insurance policies usually allow you to leave your home unoccupied for up to sixty days without voiding your policy.
You may need to call them to alert them of your travels and of course, always read the Policy Wording so you understand what you are and are not covered for.
One of the best ways to secure your home is with a home security or monitoring system.
Many of the newer home security systems can be controlled by your smartphone, and hi-tech cameras can provide exceptional quality video.
It is also an idea to fit your doors and windows with disturbance sensors which will trigger your alarm if they are disturbed. Choose a home alarm company which will contact police or dispatch security guards to check on your home quickly when an alarm is triggered.
Don’t forget to promote the fact you own an alarm system by placing alarm company stickers on your home and signs in your yard to deter criminals from trying to break into your home in the first place.
Having a security system may also save you money on your homeowner’s insurance premiums.
You don’t want advertise to the world that you are on holiday and your house is vacant.
Avoid posting travel photos and travel updates on platforms like Facebook and Instagram which clearly show you are travelling.
At the very least, you want to make sure your social media profiles have their privacy settings set to just family and close friends and not set to public. Another thing to steer clear of is setting up an auto reply for your email, as this can alert people you are away as well.
If you absolutely need to set up an auto reply for business reasons, be vague about when your travel dates are or where you are travelling.
It should go without saying, but make sure all your doors and windows are locked and secured while you’re away.
Sliding doors can be further secured by placing a stick or metal rod in the door track, while installing motion sensor lights can give help to deter criminals from entering dark areas of your property.
You can also install lights fitted with timers indoors which can be programmed to go on at set times to give the illusion someone is home each night.
Any appliance or electronic device that is left plugged in has the potential to cause a fire, so it’s therefore a good idea to unplug all unnecessary items around your home.
If you need to leave certain appliances running, check to see if you can set them to lower settings to save you money on your energy bills. It is also wise to unplug any powerboards and extension leads.
You can enhance the security of your garage door by disabling the automatic garage door opening feature which has the potential to be hacked into by tech-savvy criminals. One thing you do want to be sure is working while you’re away are your fire alarms.
Check to see if any alarm batteries need replacing before you go.
In addition to unplugging appliances, you can safeguard your home further by turner off your internal water valve and gas cylinders if you use portable gas cylinders instead of city gas services.
This will avoid situations such as gas leaks or minor floods in your home should a water pipe burst.
Don’t let the neighbourhood know you’re away by letting your mailbox overflow with newspapers and letters.
You can easily put a hold on your mail while you’re travelling and collect it all when you get back. You may be able to hold your mail for up to a year.
Holding your mail not only avoids your house appearing vacant, it also keeps your mail from being stolen or being damaged during inclement weather.