Keep Home Security on Your Vacation Checklist

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9 ways to keep your home and valuables safe while you’re away

As the holiday season approaches, many of us will be heading out to visit friends and family, leaving home for weeks at a time. As part of your pre-vacation planning, it’s important to take some security measures to ensure that your home (and everything inside it) will be safe while you’re away. Here’s a list of things to do to keep your home safe while you’re traveling.

1.Alert the neighbors

It’s a good idea to let trusted neighbors know you’ll be out of town and for how long. Ask them if they’d mind keeping an eye out while you’re away, just to be safe. Most folks would be happy to do it, as you’d return the favor anytime they are vacationing. Even if nothing happens, it’s great to have a set of eyes watching over your property.

2. Lock it up

This may seem obvious, but be sure to lock all the doors in the house, including the garage door if you have one. Put a dowel or a 2×4 in the track of your sliding doors to ensure that it cannot be opened, even if a thief manages to unlock it. While burglars can smash windows, locking everything up is a good deterrent and will often make them move on to somewhere else.

3. Don’t announce it on social media

While announcing your vacation plans on Facebook or Twitter and other social media sites is commonplace these days, it’s a very bad idea. Although you may think that only those you are friends with can see your posts, lots of folks have found out that sadly, it’s just not true. So tweeting about your two-week vacation to Maine or jet setting off to Hawaii can easily tip off crooks to the fact that your house will be empty and alone. Resist temptation to post your plans until you’re back home. If you have to tell anyone, use an old fashioned phone call or tell them in person.

4. Don’t light it up

Many people believe that leaving the lights on throughout the house is a good way to make it appear that someone’s home. It is in theory, but if you think about it, doing this not only jacks up your electric bill, it actually may tip someone off when lights are on all day and night and no one is ever around. Thieves often watch a house for a few days before trying to break in, and it only takes 24-48 hours before they’ll realize that the lights were just left on. A better idea is to get an automatic light timer that you can set to switch the lights on and off at certain times.

5. Shut off and unplug appliances

There’s no need to leave things that you’re not going to be using for a week or more plugged in. Even that tiny bit of power can be adding to your electric bill. Plus, it’s safer to not have anything plugged in while you’re away.

6. Take that key from under the mat

Everyone knows that people often leave a spare key for their house in a plant, under a mat or a rock near the front door, even burglars. Before you head off on vacation, take the extra key inside. No need to make it easy for the bad guys to break in.

7. Turn up the AC/down the heat

Leave your AC at around 80F and your heat at around 55F. That way, it will only switch on if the temperatures get extremely hot or cold. No need to cool or heat the house if you’re not there.

8. Lock up valuables

Although it may look nice to have your jewelry laid out on a dresser top, it’s not a good idea to display your valuables while you’re out of town. If you have a fireproof safe, lock up your jewelry, important documents and anything else that’s valuable. If not, consider a safe deposit box or leaving your most treasured items with a family member.

9. Stop the mail and newspaper

Put a temporary hold on your mail and newspaper while you’re away. Nothing clues in a thief more than a house with an overflowing mailbox or 5 newspapers at the end of the driveway.
Vacation memories should be filled with fun times, adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, not horror stories of how your home was invaded while you were away. Follow these tips to ensure that your home, property and belongings are safe when you’re vacationing. For information on other ways to protect your home, like homeowner’s insurance, contact Avante Insurance today.