How to Avoid Common Losses That Occur When You’re Away from Home.
Summer travel season is just around the corner. A small investment of time and effort can help you avoid costly claims from water, fire and event theft. Use our checklist to keep your home safe when you’re traveling.
Home Security Do’s and Don’ts:
Don’t broadcast your whereabouts. Never reveal travel plans or itineraries on social media and avoid providing running online commentary of your travel activities.
Encourage your children to not share vacation or travel plans with friends. One last old-fashioned bit of advice — don’t leave voice messages on home or cell phones that say when you’ll be away.
Make your home look occupied. Since looks can be deceiving, make your home appear as if someone is home. Here’s a checklist:
- If a car or cars are normally left outside, have someone periodically drive them or park them a bit differently.
- If there’s a swimming pool, keep the water in it circulating.
- Make sure that lawn mowing and watering continue as scheduled.
- Put a hold on mail and newspaper deliveries.
- Use timers on exterior lights to go on and off at the usual times.
Secure your home and its contents. Security systems can only do so much; take a few extra safety precautions when you plan to be away:
- Add security lights with motion sensors to scare off potential burglars.
- Close all window latches and put a secondary blocking device such as a wooden dowel in place to ensure windows or sliding doors cannot be opened.
- Let the security company know when the home will be vacant.
- Disconnect the garage door opener and lock it manually to protect it from criminals who can crack the electronic code.
- Move fine jewelry to a safe or bank safety deposit box.
- Don’t leave house keys in an obvious place inside or outside the home.
- Lower the volume or shut off the ringer on telephones so they can’t be heard outside.
- Make sure fine art, expensive electronics and other valuables aren’t visible through windows.
- Put fresh batteries in smoke detectors so they remain operable and don’t beep while homeowners are away.
- Use a deadbolt to secure doors.
Minimize the potential for damage. When you’re away, problems that ordinarily can be easily averted or remedied are liable to spiral into calamities. Some steps you can take to avert potential disasters include:
- Shutting off water lines.
- Making sure a sump pump in the basement is working properly.
- Making sure washing machines, dryers and dishwashers are turned off.
- Unplugging small appliances and electronics to prevent damage from a power surge.
Ask a trusted neighbor to look in on things while you’re away, and to alert you— and the police — if there is anything suspicious. A house-sitting arrangement may be worth considering for a particularly long absence.
Adapted from Property Casualty 360.