Insurer CGU has pointed out that burglaries increase dramatically during the holiday season when homes are left vacant for long periods. They have provided 10 easy way to make sure you are properly covered with insurance and have taken precautions to deter thieves:
1. Ensure you have updated your home and contents insurance and that your sum insured includes any recent acquisitions. For example, are your new Christmas gifts covered?
2. Make detailed lists of your possessions including serial numbers, model numbers and also think about having them coded to prove ownership – take a copy of this list with you or leave it with a friend.
3. Photograph any special items such as jewellery and artwork and take those photos with you too (a memory stick will do the job).
4. Security devices such as locks and burglar alarms really are effective in reducing the risk of burglary. Burglary is also lower in areas where there is a strong sense of community, so get to know your neighbours and work together.
5. Make sure all windows and doors are securely locked before you leave the premises and that all tools are stored away in a secure garage or shed.
6. Inform local police and a trusted neighbour that you are going away and leave a key with your neighbour with your holiday contact details so they can check on your property from time to time.
7. An overflowing mailbox with unread newspapers and rubbish bins left out (or not put out) tells thieves you are out of town. Ask a friend or neighbour to manage these for you and consider stopping your mail through your holiday (but remember you may still receive junk mail which if it accumulates will again give the game away).
8. Make your home look as lived in as possible while you are away by having some lights and a TV or radio connected to automatic timers that switch them on at night – better still, ask someone to house sit.
9. Turn your telephone down so it doesn’t ring for a long time unanswered – and consider diverting it to your mobile or a friend’s phone while you are away.
10. Finally, if you do have a burglary, be extra cautious as there is a real possibility thieves will strike again within 4 to 6 weeks (for reasons such as that they saw something the first time they now have a buyer for, because they expect items they took the first time to have been replaced by insurance, because the property was easy to break in).
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