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Tips for Avoiding a Break-In When You’re Out of Town

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Even if you don’t have an expensive alarm system, make plans to keep your home as secure as possible when you leave. When planning for your vacation, put together a list of the various areas of your home that may be more likely to be targeted. For example, if you have a detached garage that is shielded by trees or bushes, pay extra attention to making sure it is secure before you leave. This is also a great time to go over your home inventory list and update it with any new purchases you may have made.


Get a Neighbor’s Help


One of the most effective ways to lower your risk of a break-in during your vacation is to make it seem like you’ve never left. Burglars have been known to watch a home for several weeks before attempting a break-in. If you normally have a car parked in the driveway and suddenly it is gone for a week, an intruder may notice. Get to know your neighbors prior to any big travel plans, so you can help one another out when a trip comes around. You can ask them or a friend or family member to watch your home while you’re away.

A neighbor can easily pick up your mail each day, so it looks as though you’re still home. You may also be able to convince them to do tasks such as shoveling snow from the walkways. Piles of mail in the mailbox or a week’s worth of snow on the front porch are dead giveaways that you’re out of town. Additionally, you can give your neighbor a spare key. This allows them to enter your home at various times throughout your trip. Irregular check-ins to your home keeps potential intruders guessing as to when the place may be empty.


Don’t Publicly Announce Your Trip


As tempting as it is to post a gorgeous sunset photo or announce the awesome deal you got on flights, it’s best to keep your travel plans quiet from social media. Even if your social media profiles are secure, you never know if a friend’s profile has been stolen or if someone finds a way to access your updates. Publicly posting about your plans to leave home, especially for several weeks, just invites intruders to target you. Be sure to save the photos and memories for after the trip. Posting an update about your current location far from home and alerting a burglar to your trip is a surefire way to ruin a vacation.


Secure Your Home Before Leaving


Though it seems obvious, go through your home and secure it before you leave for your trip. This includes locking doors and windows and double-checking them before you get ready to leave. Make sure your spare key in the loose rock next to the door is moved to a more secure location. While leaving your lights on or drawing your curtains may seem like ways to prevent break-ins, it can actually cause more harm. The key is to mimic normal behaviors. Using timers on your various lights and electronics is a great way to make it seem as though you’ve never left. If you watch an hour of television every evening before bed, set a timer, so the TV turns on during this normal time.

Many homeowners keep their valuables in predictable places. Nice jewelry is generally in a vanity in the bedroom, and expensive electronics are found in the living room. Before you take off on your trip, hide your easily-portable valuables from potential burglars. It may be a good idea to invest in a personal safe to protect valuables from thieves, fire or water damage as well.


Using Technology to Keep Your Home Safe from Break-Ins


In addition to home security tips that are easy to do right before a trip, there are several technological security features available for homes. Installing dummy cameras or realistic home security signs can help deter intruders. Even more effective is installing the real deal.


Security and Alarm Systems


Security systems and burglar alarms were once an expensive luxury for homeowners. Now, however, there are many affordable options available in addition to more expensive systems. Technology-savvy homeowners may consider an alarm system that uses motion detectors and also connects via an app to your phone. Traditional alarm systems can also be installed and managed completely by a professional security company. Adding a burglar alarm system may even help you save money on homeowners insurance.


Smart Home Technologies


In addition to alarm systems, there are several smart home upgrades that can be used to enhance the security of your home. Adding a video doorbell allows you to see when someone rings your doorbell, even if you’re out of town. Similarly, smart surveillance cameras give you the ability to monitor your home from your cell phone. You can be easily and quickly notified if someone is moving around your home. These smart home technologies keep you updated to any potential intruders lurking near your home, giving you the opportunity to alert a neighbor of the police of suspicious activity before a break-in occurs.


Have a Back-Up in Case of a Break-In


In addition to these tips, consider checking the details of your homeowners insurance before you leave for your trip. Many valuables, such as jewelry, are not included in the coverage limits of a basic homeowners policy. Learn more about homeowners insurance options that can help protect your belongings while you’re on vacation by calling us at 1-800-640-2920.


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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.