Many Nova Scotians will again head out on vacation this winter after a few years of pandemic restrictions. If you are fortunate enough to get away for a long-awaited vacation, it’s important to take precautions to keep your home safe. Here are 8 tips to protect your home, property and belongings while you’re gone.
1. Enlist a Neighbor.
Tell a trusted neighbour that you’ll be gone for a while and ask them to keep an eye on your house. Provide them with your vacation contact details and a spare key. And let them know they should call the police if they see anything suspicious or dangerous on the premises.
2. Keep Some Lights On.
Keeping your lights on will go a long way in stopping burglars or nefarious strangers from attempting to enter your home. It will appear as though someone is there. Keep your window coverings exactly as you usually do when you’re home. Noticeable changes, like leaving your curtains closed for two weeks straight, could tip off a would-be burglar of your absence.
3. Shut Off Your Water and Unplug Appliances.
Water leaks happen, often at the most inopportune times. One way to avoid coming home to a burst pipe (and significant water damage) is to shut off your main water valve. Alternatively, turning off all the taps, e.g. the valves under a sink, protects your home from a potential flood. And while you’re at it, unplug small appliances. Electrical fires and power surges can happen, so unplug appliances, TVs, coffee makers, lamps, etc. Plus, make sure your smoke alarms are working and have a fire extinguisher on hand in case a house sitter needs to extinguish a blaze.
4. Remove All Your Spare Keys.
Remember to remove all your spare keys from where you usually hide them. Criminals know all those hiding spots, like under the doormat, potted plants, and more. If a burglar senses that you’re away on vacation, you can bet they will hunt for that spare key – so don’t give them a chance to find it.
5. Be Careful What You Share on Social Media.
We live in a time when social media is omnipresent. Many people post photos of their vacation via social media. And, of course, this is very common, but know that potential thieves may be watching. Consider waiting to publicly share details of your trip until you return. Alternatively, if you do post while you’re away, make sure your share settings are switched to private or “Friends Only.”
6. Contact Your Alarm Company.
Having an alarm system installed in your home can bring you more than peace of mind; it could also help you qualify for an extra discount on home insurance. If you don’t have an alarm system, you can fool burglars by hanging fake security company signs or even installing fake security cameras. Many modern security systems are even manageable from your smartphone or tablet.
7. Don’t Forget to Lock Up.
It’s a no-brainer to lock all your doors before going on vacation. But have you ever been on your way out of town and asked yourself, “did I lock the back door?” This is another good reason to enlist a neighbour to keep an eye on your home. Take some time to secure other openings, like pet doors or mail slots, to prevent burglars from reaching in with a tool and unlocking the door. And if you have an automatic garage door, consider disconnecting the electronic opener and placing a padlock on the garage-door track instead.
8. Double Check Your Home Insurance.
Sometimes accidents and break-ins happen despite your best efforts. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you keep your home insurance policy up to date. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you need tenant or home insurance to protect your home and other valuable assets.
If you last reviewed your policy a while ago, contact your home insurance broker and ensure you have the coverage you need to protect your home and belongings while you’re away. For more information and frequently asked questions, visit our webpages for home insurance and tenant insurance, or contact a Bauld Insurance Advisor for a quote.