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Protecting your house and contents over Christmas

Its the busiest time of year …. for burglars.  House insurance is just one part of managing your house and contents risk.  Heres a guide on protecting your property.

It’s coming into that time of year where we like to take a load off – relax for a couple of weeks, put the feet up at the bach, or even head off overseas – but it’s also the time of year when burglars tend to be more active. Leaving houses empty for periods of time can be risky in several ways, and among other factors, result in an uptick of property insurance claims. We’ve all seen Home Alone!

Holiday homes are particularly vulnerable as they are often left unoccupied for extended periods of time, but even our own homes need to stay secure and damage-free over the silly season.

Burglary prevention is equally important for holiday homeowners, landlords, and people with a single main residence. Importantly, burglary isn’t only about having your contents stolen, but also the fact that thieves can cause significant damage to other possessions and the property itself whilst trying to gain access.

Property insurance cover is designed to protect you if the worst should happen, but as a property owner there are several steps you can take to avoid having to deal with the heartache and distress of someone illegally entering your property, and ultimately having to make a claim on your policy.  

Prevent opportunistic burglars from targeting your property by:

  • Keeping all valuables out of sight. Gifts under the tree are tempting for thieves so make sure they, and other valuables, can’t be seen from the outside the home. Also be careful when disposing of any tell-tale packaging
  • Checking window joinery, and promptly replacing or repairing any loose latches
  • Installing security stays on windows
  • Fitting deadlocks or deadbolts to all external doors, especially older doors and ranch sliders which can be more easily broken into
  • Installing a burglar alarm and advertising the presence of an alarm
  • Installing exterior sensor lights, and checking any existing lights are working correctly

If possible, make it difficult for someone to break into your home. Trim trees and shrubs so there are no places for burglars to hide and move wheelie bins and other large objects away from fences, ledges and drop-offs wherever possible. Lock your shed and put away any tools, to remove the temptation of them being used to aid access.

Something else to consider is not advertising that you are away: keep your lawns mowed, gardens tidy, the mailbox clear and avoid leaving messages on social networking sites and answering machines with dates and other specific details of your absence. Let your neighbours know if you’re going to be away, give them your contact phone number, and have if you a good relationship with your neighbour – ask them to clear your mail, or park in your driveway to keep up the ruse. 

Good security makes people feel safe; it also has the added benefit of retaining good and long-term tenants – and for holiday homes, a reputation for a safe and secure property.

Stay safe over the next month – and Merry Christmas from the team at Initio!