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How to secure your home when travelling abroad

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Jetting off on holiday is a great way to escape the winter blues. However, nothing spoils that after-holiday glow more quickly than coming home to find that you’ve been burgled. Improve the security of your home and put your mind at rest during your trip by following these simple steps.

Hide the signs

Nothing shouts ‘empty house’ louder than a growing pile of post on the doormat. If you are away for more than a few days, you might want to look into Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service which holds your mail at the sorting office for up to two months. Alternatively, you could ask a friend or neighbour to periodically enter the property and move the post for you. Also, don’t forget to cancel any regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers.

Put your valuables out of sight

Expensive items can act as an advertisement to potential burglars. Ensure that any valuables such as jewellery, car keys or expensive electronics are placed out of sight, ideally in a secure, well-concealed safe. Avoid hiding places such as under the bed or in your sock drawer as these are often the first places a thief will look. If you don’t have a safe, think about leaving valuable items with a friend or family member.

Ask a friend

Ask a trusted friend, family member or neighbour to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. You could even leave a key with them and ask them to enter your property periodically to clear any post, check that everything is ok, turn on lights, draw the curtains, and generally give the impression that the house is occupied. If you’re driving to the airport, you could also ask a neighbour to park their car on your driveway during your trip.

Last minute check

It might sounds obvious, but before leaving for holiday, make sure you do a last minute sweep of the house to check that all windows and doors are closed and locked. Unsecured entrances are a burglar’s dream and, if you were to get burgled, could invalidate your home insurance. Once all windows and doors are securely locked, don’t forget to put all keys safely out of sight.

Don’t broadcast your empty home

Broadcasting your holiday plans to a wide audience can leave your home vulnerable to an organised burglary. Be careful about talking about your holiday on social media – while many of us like to boast about our holiday plans on Facebook or Twitter, or post envy-inducing holiday snaps, this can actually backfire, publicising the fact that your house is empty.  Wait until you’re back home before posting those photos – otherwise you risk invalidating your insurance in the event of a break-in.

Set an alarm

In the event that somebody does try and break in to your home, installing a reliable alarm system will help to scare them off before they enter the property or cause too much damage. For added peace of mind, install a system that links directly to a security firm. Installing security lighting can have a similar effect, acting as a deterrent for would-be burglars and alerting neighbours if anyone approaches your property.

Ensure you’re covered

While the above steps can help minimise the chance of your home getting broken into, having comprehensive home and contents insurance can help reduce the upset, stress and financial loss if the worst was to happen. Make sure you look at your policy documents before traveling so you know exactly what’s covered, and don’t forget to read the small print – for example, some insurers won’t cover you if you’re away for more than 60 days so it’s always worth double-checking.

Follow these steps and you can spend your holiday making memories and enjoying yourself rather than worrying about your home. While you’re protecting your property, don’t forget to also protect yourself with our over 60s travel insurance.

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