Home, safe home

Written By: John McLeish

So you’ve arranged your travel insurance as per our last post (congratulations!) and you’ll soon head out. Whether you’re leaving home for a day or a month, you want to make sure your property is as safe and secure as it can be.

Interestingly, three of the top tips are things you should NOT do: do not broadcast your plans on social media. More people can see our Facebook and Twitter feeds than we probably realize. Similarly, do not change your voice-mail recording to announce that you’re out of town. Finally, do not leave any light on 24/7; it’s a signal to burglars that you’re not home. Investing in timers is prudent.

So what should you do to help deter break-ins, vandalism or damage?

  1. Have a friend or neighbour check in, ideally daily. He or she can bring in the mail and newspaper (if you haven’t put deliveries on hold, a wise option), turn different lights off and on, and make sure there’s nothing remiss with faucets/water pipes, etc.
  2. Unplug everything you can, to protect your computer, television and other items from electrical surges.
  3. Install a motion-detector light outside, if you don’t already have one.
  4. Depending on the season and length of your absence, make sure you’ve arranged for someone to shovel your driveway and sidewalk or maintain your lawn.
  5. If you have a safe-deposit box, put your valuables in it, including paperwork such as your will. If you don’t have a safe-deposit box, consider leaving such items with a trusted friend or neighbour.
  6. If you’re going to be gone for more than a week, in this climate and at this time of year, you should turn off your internal water valve to prevent pipes bursting.
  7. Do you have a neighbour who might be able to park his or her car in your driveway while you’re gone? Invite them to do so; the more inhabited the place looks, the safer.

Finally, before you leave, make sure all your doors and windows are locked. If you have a home security system, don’t head out without turning it on.  Now, happy travels!

John McLeish


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