Break-ins can occur at any time to anyone in any neighbourhood. Break-ins leave us feeling vulnerable and even a bit scared. The costs can be astronomical. Not only can the replacement value of electronics and valuable contents add up, more than likely there will be physical damage to deal with. The highest percentages of break-ins happen while people are away on vacation, or in the summer when they begin to leave their doors and windows open.
Tips to protect your home from break-ins
Protecting your humble abode from unwanted guests is easier than you might think. Keep these tips in mind to help prevent break-ins and keep your space safe:
Lock your doors — even when you’re at home. While it might seem unnecessary to lock your doors when you’re inside, doing so can help prevent any nasty surprises (like finding a stranger in your living room when you come up from the basement). It can also get you into the habit of locking your doors, so you’ll be less likely to forget to do so when you leave the house..
Do a little landscaping. Trees and shrubs that surround your windows and doors can make perfect shelters for burglars who are trying to break into your home without being seen. Consider tidying up larger plants around first-floor and basement windows and doors to minimize the amount of coverage they could provide to thieves.
Add additional lighting and locks. Light is not a burglar’s best friend. Install motion sensor lights, deadbolt locks and upgrade patio/sliding glass door locks.
Change passcodes on a regular basis. If you use electronic locks or any other digital system, make sure your system including modem is secure from prying eyes. Change passcodes on doors and systems regularly. If you have guests, set them up on a temporary code that can be deleted when they leave.
Invest in a quality home security system. Both self-monitored and company-monitored security systems can enhance your home security efforts and help deter or catch intruders and thieves.
Plan ahead of a possible home claim. Keep an updated written and visual inventory (link to downloadable PDF inventory) of your belongings. It will help make the claims process easier and assist the police to identify your valuables if they are recovered or sold illegally.
Keep electronics and other valuables out of sight. Thieves love to window shop, and sometimes all it takes is a view of a shiny new flat-screen TV or laptop to tempt them to break in. Head outside and walk around the perimeter of your home. How many valuables can you see by peeking in through your windows and doors? While it might not be convenient to re-arrange your home to keep those valuables out of sight, consider making a point of closing your curtains when you leave the house to keep them hidden.
Another way to tip off thieves about your shiny new flat-screen TV is to leave the whole box on the curb beside the rest of your garbage. When you get new electronics, break down the boxes and put them at the bottom of the recycle bin.
Keep your home secure when you travel
Make your home looked lived in, even way you are away. If you will be absent for even a couple of days, take a few steps to make the home lived in.
- Set timers to turn on your indoor and outdoor lights at the same time you’d normally turn them on each evening.
- Arrange to have a neighbour pick up the mail and newsletters.
- If snow is in the forecast, arrange to have someone else shovel your property. This will also help to prevent any liability claims if someone slips and falls.
- Only post vacation photos after you have returned home. Announcing on social media that you will be away, could even negate your insurance policy.
There are plenty more ways you can protect your home. Ask your agent at Reliance Insurance for specific measures you can take to make sure your home insurance policy will keep you covered if you should experience a break-in when you’re out of town. After all, they are the experts in insurance coverages. Some policies require an adult to check in on the vacant property to keep the policy intact. Contact one of the Reliance Personal Lines home insurance broker to learn more on how to protect your home and family with our HomeProtect home insurance.
For additional resources to keep your home safe:
Keeping your home safe under lock and key What to do if your home has been broken into
Thank you in part to Economical Insurance for blog resources.