Keep your house safe while you’re away on holiday
Check your household insurance – Make sure you have the cover you need and that it remains valid while you are away. While buying an adequate level of cover for your possessions may seem obvious, are there any exclusions in your policy that says that items like laptops, handbags or spectacles are not covered? Are items outside of your property perimeter covered? Check all of this beforehand and increase it accordingly.
First prize is to get a reputable, reference checked house sitter, failing that, follow these steps:
- Don’t leave your house looking unoccupied – Mow the lawn before you leave.
- Bring in washing from the line and from drying racks that can be seen through windows.
- Leave curtains and blinds open – nothing reveals that a house is unoccupied so much as curtains drawn during the day.
Ask a neighbour to remove free newspapers, post and free refuse bags from your gate and driveway. Ask your neighbour to water your pot plants, too. This won’t just keep them healthy for your return but will stop them appearing wilted and indicating an absent owner. Install a light on a timer switch that comes on in the evening.
Keep your valuables safe – Keep valuables out of sight and don’t leave them where they can be seen through a window.
If you intend to conceal valuables in your home, avoid obvious hiding places such as your sock drawer, in a fake food can in the kitchen – burglars are wise to this trick – and in the freezer, unless you are prepared to wrap absolutely everything in foil to make your jewellery totally indistinguishable from your food.
Your best bet is not to leave anything you would hate to lose in the house at all, but if you must, then in order to save most of your treasure, your second-best bet is to distribute it around several locations that are difficult to reach, and leave a pile of money and some inexpensive items in a more obvious place.
Given that most burglars are opportunists and their motive is generally to get in, get something of value
and then get out as fast as possible, your intruder might be encouraged to leave after finding your fake hoard rather than ripping the house apart in the hope of finding the real deal.
Don’t tell everyone you’re on holiday – Don’t tell people outside immediate friends and family that you are going away or for how long, but make sure that you tell your immediate neighbours so that they can keep an eye on the house for you. Also give them a spare key for the house in case of an emergency and tell them who provides your security services.
Certainly, you should not brag about your upcoming holiday on social media such as Facebook or Twitter – you don’t know who can read your comments, or who they will tell.
Have your house alarm tested before going away.