6 Tips to Keep Your House Safe When You’re Away

The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is one of the busiest times of the year for travel. Though the percentage of travelers may be down this year due to COVID-19, many experts still expect an increase in traffic in the air and on the highways this year.

While there are current guidelines in place to protect your health, don’t forget to protect your home from thieves as well. We have 6 simple tips to help.

1. Tell someone you’re going away

It’s a good idea to tell a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member that you will be gone. This way someone can check on your house and make sure everything is still in place. You’ll want them to stop by at different times every day so watchful thieves don’t detect a pattern. You should also ask them to pick up your mail or newspaper every day. 

2. Don’t announce your plans on social media

While it’s a good idea to notify a friend or family member that you’ll be out of town, you shouldn’t tell everyone. That means refrain from posting about your trip on social media before you go. It’s also a good idea to save those lovely vacation pics and post them after you get home, instead of while you’re gone. This is another form of advertisement for criminals.

3. Tell the authorities 

Some police departments have programs designed to protect homeowners who go out of town.  Find out if your community has this type of program. If they do, be sure to alert the appropriate agency with information about your travel plans, including your travel dates, how many cars should be in your driveway, and who has permission to be on your property.

4. Make it look like you’re home

Try to be subtle about the fact that you’re away. If possible, make it look like you are home. You can put a temporary hold on your newspaper and mail so they don’t pile up and advertise: “we’re gone…come steal from us!” If you’re leaving a car at home, leave it in the driveway instead of the garage or ask the neighbors to park their car in front of your house. 

It’s also a good idea to set a timer on your outdoor and indoor lights. This can be done with programmable lights or via an app on your smartphone.  Also, consider leaving the radio or TV on so some noise can be heard inside your house.

5. Clean the place up

Before leaving for your trip, take care of some basic housekeeping. We’re not talking about mopping the floors or picking up toys, although you’re free to do that too. Instead, reduce your chances of being hit by thieves:

  • Make sure your valuables can’t be seen from the windows
  • Lock up your valuables
  • Trim your hedges and shrubs so there are no hiding places
  • Put away lawn/gardening tools, ladders, and decorative/expensive outdoor objects
  • Make sure all your outdoor lights are working or install motion-sensor lights

6. Take advantage of smart technology

Smartphones do pretty much everything these days, including allowing you to protect your home even when you’re not home. There are a variety of apps and tools that can be controlled from your smart devices. Things like security cameras and video doorbell cameras can be synced with your Wi-Fi network. Some systems will even send you an alert about any suspicious activity. 

Before you go, use your phone to make a video recording of the possessions inside and outside your home. This way you’ll have a good record of anything stolen if you do experience a break-in. 

Make sure you have the right homeowners’ coverage

You can’t always be home to protect your castle. Unfortunately, you may wind up becoming a victim of criminals no matter how many precautions you take. That’s why you need the right homeowner’s insurance. If you already have a policy, it’s a good idea to review it and make sure you have enough coverage. This is especially important if you’ve recently done some renovations/updates or added something like a pool or another addition to your home. 

Contact us to talk about your insurance needs and request a quote. 

This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.