Have you taken your annual holiday yet this year, or perhaps you are waiting for that fabled Indian summer? Either way, the chances are that when you go away, your home is going to be left unoccupied – and, depending on the type of holiday you are taking, may be empty for a month or more. You may be concerned about keeping your home safe.
It’s when your home is vacant like this, that it is at its most vulnerable:
- relatively minor glitches in need of repair and attention might develop into major incidents if there is no one there to spot what is happening; and
- an empty property is an attraction from all manner of unwanted sources such as burglars, to squatters, from vandals to arsonists – home security specialists First Home News reported on the 9th of May 2016, for instance that very nearly 200,000 burglaries took place in England and Wales in one year alone.
That is why most home insurers severely limit or remove altogether the normal cover your home enjoys once it has been empty for 30-45 consecutive days or so – the exact interval depending on the particular insurer concerned. To fill that dangerous gap in the protection your home continues to need, therefore, here at GSI Insurance we specialise in the provision of specialist unoccupied property insurance – and have written a guide to help you get to grips with the issue.
Even with unoccupied property insurance in place, however, you still have a responsibility for keeping your home safe and mitigating the risks of loss or damage. So, here are a few tips and suggestions:
- do consider joining a neighbourhood watch scheme and asking a friend or relative to keep an eye on your property, advises Police UK;
- letting trusted people know that you are going to be away is good, but advertising the fact on social media for all to see is likely to be asking for trouble;
- lock all your doors and windows, of course, double-locking those which offer that additional security;
- install good, motion-detecting lighting on the outside of your house;
- ensure that back gates and other points of access to the rear of the property are also locked and that the garden is kept neat and tidy – once again to avoid advertising the fact that no one is home;
- keep ladders and tools securely locked away inside and not out in the open – where they might be used to help make a break-in;
- arrange for a neighbour to park their car on your driveway from time to time – helping to create the impression that there is in fact someone at home;
- remove from plain view any items of particular value;
- items of especially high value – such as jewellery – need to be kept either in a safe or a vault at your bank;
- install timer-switched lights in various rooms of your home;
- keep out of sight and away from either front or back doors keys for the house or your car – not only are they an invitation to break an entry but may also be removed by a hooked device pushed through your letterbox.
By following these and other security tips and suggestions for – many of which boil down to simple common sense – you may help with keeping your home safe and sound whilst you are away.