Nine must know tips to secure your home

Bianca de Beer, spokesman for Dialdirect Insurance.

Whenever you are planning a well-deserved holiday break make sure your home is secure before you set out on your journey.

Bianca de Beer, spokesman for Dialdirect Insurance urged homeowners to ensure that their home security is top-notch before going away.

“According to the SA Victims of Crime Survey 2016, unguarded doors and windows greatly increase your risk for burglaries and break-ins.

“Of the 30 000 people surveyed, 44.8 per cent stated that burglars entered their homes by smashing a door and 34.2 per cent said they got in through a window.

“Interestingly, the days are also long gone when criminals mostly waited for the dark of night for cover, with 24.3 per cent of these break-ins occurring in the afternoon,” said de Beer.

With this in mind, having burglar bars fixed to all opening windows and security gates fitted to all external doors is no longer a nice to have – it’s become essential.

Here are some other things you can do to ensure you find home in the exact same state you left it in before going on holiday.

  • First check that you are properly covered on your insurance policy for all of your household items.
  • The amount for which you have insured the contents of your home should be equivalent to the amount it would cost to replace all the items with new items, at today’ prices.
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date inventory list of all your household possessions.
  • Most insurance companies will also recommend that you have an alarm system installed that is linked to a reliable armed response company.
  • Even with both of these measures in place, the lack of a human presence in your home is always obvious from outside. The best way to ensure peace of mind is to employ a house sitter. A house that’s occupied is almost always safer than a house that’s empty. See if you can get a trusted friend or relative to stay at your home while you are away.
  • Curtains being opened and closed, lights being switched on and off and the presence of a car in the driveway are all signs that people are coming and going.
  • If nobody will be house sitting, it’s worth your while to put your lights on a timer, and in several rooms. Set the timer to turn on the living room lights at sunset, as you would if you were home.
  • Cut back any trees or bushes that obscure your front door or driveway. These could be used as hiding places.
  • Clean up in the garden and be sure to lock away spades, rakes and other tools which could conceivably be used to break a window or gain entry into your home.

De Beer also reminds homeowners that upgrading their home security could result in lower home contents insurance premiums.

“The level of security in your home is one of the underwriting conditions that goes into determining your monthly premium. If your home is safer, your risk profile decreases and your premium could be reduced as well,” she said.

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