Leaving for holidays? Secure your home while you're away.Not everyone has the money to hire a house-sitter when they leave on holidays. The longer we’re away, the more obvious it becomes that the house is empty. The mail sticking out of the letterbox, a pile of delivered newspapers left on the lawn, the drawn curtains, the bins left on the nature strip long after the rubbish collection day. All of these signs scream “There’s nobody home!” and make the house more attractive for opportunistic thieves.
OK, so how do we make a house look occupied?If you have a friendly neighbour, you could ask them put the rubbish bins in your yard and to take the mail out, promising that you will return the favour next time. Otherwise you could have your mail held by the Australia Post and your newspapers cancelled till you return from the holidays.
It could also be a good idea to leave the radio on, and perhaps even a light. Not very power-saving, I know, but should help to keep the thieves away. You could use an energy-saving light bulb to minimize the damage to your pocket and the environment, and a timer switch to turn the light on and off automatically. Not many houses (especially old ones) have a timer light switch installed, but you can easily get around that. Get a timer switch (can cost less than $10) and plug a table lamp or floor lamp into it, set it to switch on after dark for a few hours, and it should work like a charm.
Drawn curtains in day time look very suspicious. Consider leaving them open as you normally would – but move all the valuable items out of sight. Our friends from The Buzz Insurance have given us some interesting facts on when the thefts occur and what gets stolen a lot.
According to an analysis done by the IAG research centre (The Buzz is part of IAG), the highest % of theft claims are reported to occur between midday to 6pm, followed by incidents that occur between 6am to midday.
What are the thieves after?Following are the most commonly stolen items from homes (based on data for items replaced due to theft claims in years 2008-2009)
Top ten items replaced nationally due to theft claims
- Digital Cameras
- Mp3 players
- Memory cards
(Data provided by IAG Research Centre)
If your shed or workshop is easily accessible, consider storing valuable tools inside the house when you're away. Any particularly valuable things – ask a friend or a family member to hang on to them until you return. So keep these items out of sight to avoid attracting potential burglars. And – obviously – if you have home contents insurance, then you have nothing to worry about.
Insure your home online with The Buzz.
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