We all look forward to a vacation break during the summer months; but, in fact, so do burglars who know that homeowners many times leave their homes unprotected. However, most burglaries could be prevented if we take basic precautions. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), light, time and noise are the homeowner’s greatest weapons against home invasion by burglars.
- According to the FBI, more home burglaries occur in June, July and August than in any other months of the year with August being the heaviest month. Don’t allow your home to become another statistic during these months (or ever!).
- Do not announce your travel plans to the public; you can post your pictures when you return.
- Notify a trusted neighbor of your travel dates.
- Ask a neighbor or someone you trust for simple favors such as: putting your garbage out, Clearing away flyers, notes, and packages left in doors.
- Never hide a key. Give it to the trusted person you have checking your home.
- Properly close and lock all windows and doors – including your garage.
- Do not let valuables be seen from the outside of your home, but leave curtains slightly parted so your home doesn’t look empty.
- Put a temporary stop on the delivery of mail and newspaper.
- Document and mark your valuables either by making a list or taking pictures. Store important documents in a security box somewhere other than your home. This will help you file an insurance claim in the event of a lost or stolen item. This tip is also useful in case of natural disasters.
- Have your answering machine message say, “Sorry we can't come to the phone" instead of “We are away until next week”.
The III reports that a burglar won’t spend more than 4-5 minutes trying to break in before going to the next house. Most insurance companies provide discounts for devices that make a home safer such as dead-bolt locks, window grates, bars and smoke/fire/burglar alarms.
Before you take that long-awaited vacation, consider contacting your insurance agent for further suggestions and to find out just how your home is protected against burglaries and theft of your valuables.