How to Keep Your Home Safe While You Travel
To ensure you have peace of mind next time you go away, follow these essential tips for keeping your home safe while you travel
1. Get a Smart Alarm System
We don’t have to tell you to lock your doors before you leave – yet you’d be amazed by how many people forget – but you might consider taking a more intelligent, high-tech approach to home security.
It’s now possible to buy burglar and fire alarms that, when tripped, summon the police or fire brigade. You can also get apps that notify you when your alarms have been tripped, so even if you’re on the other side of the world, you can still inform the police and your insurers.
2. Stay Safe on Social Media
When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, there is such a thing as sharing too much. It’s one thing to let everyone know that you’re going on holiday, yet it’s quite another to post pictures of your flight tickets, telling all prospective burglars precisely when they can expect your house to be unoccupied.
3. Make it Look like You’re Still Around
Resilience on social media might deter the more committed criminals, but what about the more opportunistic burglars?
Well, it’s all about sending the right signals.
Put some of your lights on timers, so that they come on at key times throughout the day. You might also consider setting a radio to come on for a few hours each afternoon.
Attention to detail is crucial. For instance, to some criminals, something as innocuous as leaving your front gate open sends the signal that you take a lax approach to home security. Also, closing your curtains might seem like a good idea, but to some, it simply confirms that nobody’s home.
It’s your job to make it clear that your home is fortified – with visible alarms and secure doors – while creating the illusion that you never left, and that any intruders are likely to encounter some resistance.
4. Ask Someone to Housesit
If you’ve any friends or relatives who are happy to housesit for you while you’re away, not only will they be an effective deterrent against burglars, they’ll also be able to keep an eye out for fires, floods, and any other disasters.
They don’t have to spend all of their time at your house – a brief visit every other day will likely suffice: whenever’s convenient for them, and whatever it takes to give you peace of mind.
At the very least, your neighbours will probably be willing to keep an eye out for any potentially disastrous activity. Just make sure you provide anybody you ask to housesit with an emergency number on which they can contact you should anything go wrong.
5. Reduce the Chances of Disaster
If you can’t get anyone to look after your house, there’s still plenty you can do to reduce the risks of fire and flood. Before you leave, unplug any appliances that use a lot of energy, such as televisions, computers, heaters, toasters, and microwaves.
Not only will this cut down on your electricity bills – some appliances use energy even when they’re not running – it will also prevent potentially hazardous sparks and electrical surges.
Obviously, you’re not going to leave your taps running while you’re away, but if you have a means of cutting off the water to your sinks, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machines, use it.
6. Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst
Whether it’s been ransacked by burglars, ravaged by flood, or decimated by fire, no disaster in the home is quite as devastating as that which takes place while you’re away. When you’re exhausted from travel, it’s bad enough to find that everything you hold dear has been compromised. But what makes things even worse is the fact that, because you weren’t able to act quickly and decisively, recovering from the disaster will be much harder than necessary.
When you’re away, not only can burglars be sure that your home will be unoccupied, they also know that their crimes may go unreported for up to a week – which will make it a lot more difficult for the police to gather the evidence they need to make a conviction.
Similarly, in the event of a fire, a flood, or storm damage, unless you’re around to instantly notify your insurance providers, you may not receive the compensation you deserve. When investigating your claim, your insurance providers may insist that, given how long ago the incident took place, they’re not able to gather sufficient evidence to effectively judge your case.
It’s here where the services of a loss assessor will prove invaluable; but it is much better that you do everything you do all you can to prevent any disasters from occurring in the first place.
Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment