We all think about how excited we are when we go on holiday, what we are going to do, the things we are going to see while we are travelling. There is another area we should also be taking some time to think about, and that is the safety of your home and possessions when you are away.
You definitely don't want to return to a home where everything was taken while you were holidaying abroad or locally. There are a few measures you can take to ensure your home and possessions are waiting for you safe and sound on your return.
Here are a few guidelines to help:
Insurance and other safety arrangements Just as you need travel insurance, of course you need to have your home insured. It would be good to check with your insurance provider about clauses that cover theft, damages by fire or any other means that could destroy your home and make sure that your cover is up to date. Even though you have comprehensive insurance cover on your house, it pays to check with your insurance company what actually your policy covers if you are leaving your house unoccupied for an extended period. Many insurance companies may have written into their policies that you must inform them when you are going on holiday and even some will not continue to cover your house should it be vacant for more than a few months. So it is best to check with them and keep them completely informed as to when you are leaving and when you expect to be back again. Also advise them if you have someone looking after the house while you are away.
Special items need special attention Store your valuables in bank safety deposit boxes or with close relatives. If it is possible and you feel comfortable with the idea, having someone you trust house-sit your home until you come back can be an excellent way to gain peace of mind.
Put a stop to deliveries If you are away for more than a week or so, take the time to stop any daily deliveries such as your daily newspaper, mail and milk. If you are only away for a few days, ask a neighbour to collect your mail for you.
Switch off utilities Ensure that you have switched off the gas and have electric appliances unplugged with the switches turned off at the wall. Don't turn off your power at the main though, especially if you have a fridge, freezer and mains powered security alarms.
Secure doors and windows Check carefully that all your windows and doors are well secured before you leave your home, and use a deadlock on your doors so that anyone who breaks in through a window can't take items out the doors.
Inform your alarm company If your house has a security system, ensure that any alarm activation in your absence is monitored by a reputable company and that they are informed you will be away. Should the unthinkable happen and your alarm is activated at least you will have the peace of mind that a security person will respond and they will check into and determine what set it off. Make sure that they have a contact in your city who can be called if the alarm is triggered.
Security lighting and curtains Set the lights in your home on a timer so that they will go on in the evenings and off at the time you would usually go to bed. Have your curtains partially closed, or blinds tilted so people can't look in your windows, but also so it doesn't look as if the place is empty during the day.
Footwear at your door Burglars will often look for signs like boots and shoes left by the front door to see who lives in a house. Even when you are away, leave a few pairs of shoes by the door, including man sized boots.
Neighbourhood watch It is a very good idea to make sure one or more of your neighbours know that you are going to be away and that you are not expecting any visitors or deliveries over the next few weeks. Ideally this should be someone who is retired or normally at home during the day - they usually have a good idea of who should be in the street. Neighbours will pay more attention to a vehicle parked up your drive if they know you are not home.
Armed with these quick and easy tips, you can make sure that when you arrive home from your holiday that your time away was a memorable one, and not remembered for the mess and shock of a disaster when you got home.