Obviously, you want to protect your home against burglary risks year-round. But thieves know that the holiday season is a time when your home is likely to be filled with brand-new gifts, cash and other expensive items, so extra awareness and security measures are needed.
Protect yourself and your belongings (and maybe even save on your insurance premiums) by practicing a few simple safety precautions.
While away from home during the day or evening
- Lock all doors and windows whenever you leave the house, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Turn on your lights and the radio or television – a timer can help with this.
- Keep your front door clear of package deliveries. Online shopping is popular this time of year, so don’t give porch pirates the opportunity to snatch your holiday gifts. If you ship something to your house, set up email or text alerts to confirm when packages arrive. Also, consider asking your mail carrier to deliver packages to your back door.
- Keep your curtains closed so that would-be thieves can’t see inside your house. Similarly, don’t put expensive gifts near a window, which could invite a smash-and-grab theft.
- Don’t leave any spare keys hidden outside during the holidays. Instead, give the spare key to a trusted neighbour.
- Put away ladders and tools that could be used to break into your home.
- Keep doors and windows locked (including on upper floors), even when you’re home.
- Be wary of strangers at your door. Criminals sometimes pose as charity workers or couriers delivering gifts.
- If you have a garage, pull your car inside and close the door before you unload all those gifts you purchased. Burglars have been known to watch shoppers leave malls, follow them home and then grab packages from your unlocked car as you are carrying them inside. If you don’t have a garage, always lock your car as you’re carrying packages inside, even if you’ll be right back for more.
- After the holiday, be careful about discarding packaging that held expensive gifts – thieves will know that those expensive items are now in your home. Instead, cut up the boxes and turn them plain-side out for disposal or recycling.
- Don’t talk about upcoming travel on social media. Wait until you get home to share details and photos.
- Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home and park in the driveway from time to time.
- Have mail and newspapers suspended while you are away so they don’t pile up outside.
- Use a timer to turn your lights on in the evening and off during the daytime, so it looks more like you’re home.
Keep in mind, devices that make your home safer, such as dead-bolt locks, window grates or bars, burglar alarm systems and security camera systems, may be a smart option. Most insurance companies provide discounts for qualifying security devices.
No matter how cautious you are and how much you try to keep your home safe, if a burglar wants to break into your home, they’ll eventually find a way. This is why insuring your property against theft is important. Be aware you may need to purchase additional coverage to protect special items like expensive jewelry, collectibles or rare antiques.
Having adequate home insurance is one of best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season. Contact your insurance broker for specifics on possible discounts and to ensure your policy is adequate and up to date.