10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

keeping-home-safe-on-vacationWe know, we know….you can’t wait to skip town for that highly anticipated summer vacation! Last minute packing and departure anxiety can have you running around like crazy, and whether you are planning to camp in the Adirondacks for a long weekend or sinking your toes into the hot Florida sand for a week, protecting your home will give you the peace of mind to get the most out of a relaxing family vacation.

Here at O’Brien Insurance in upstate NY, we want your vacation to be stress-free! So follow our 10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation and you won’t have to worry about theft or damage to your home as your family heads towards fun in the sun!

1. Take Advantage of your Family, Friends, and Neighbors

Ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Give them a key and let them get your mail, feed your cat, water your plants, and make the rounds to ensure everything is okay. Consider asking someone to “live” in your house while you’re away. This is a great job for your friend’s college-aged kid or one of your single friends. A house that appears lived in is not a target for burglars. Make sure this trusted person has all of your contact information.

2. Don’t Advertise your Vacation Online!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…who is reading your posts? Believe it or not, there are plenty of thieves out there that scour social media sites to find out when people won’t be home. Charting your vacation plans online lets burglars know when you won’t be at home. Make it your goal to disengage and swear off the social media until you get home.

3. Turn Off and Unplug

We are not recommending that you unplug your refrigerator, but unplugging toasters, computers, alarm clocks, etc., will not only save you money on your power bill, but will reduce the risk of electrical fires and power surges that can ruin items live televisions and computers.

4. Arrange for Pet Care

Although this may seem obvious, many people don’t know how their pet is going to behave until the first time they are left at home for a long period of time. While you may get a trusted friend to come over and feed, walk, and perhaps play with your dog or cat each day, pets do have personalities and when upset, have been known to chew the corners off of sofas or soil carpets out of spite.

5. Inform the Police, Alarm Company, and Neighborhood Watch

It is possible, especially if you live in a small town, that informing the police that you are leaving town for a while may result in extra patrolling of the area. If you have a home alarm system, be sure to leave your alarm code with someone you trust and let the alarm company know the dates you will be out of town and the person with whom you have left your code. If there is a neighborhood watch in your community, be sure to let them know of your trip so they keep an extra eye on your home!

6. Hide Valuables

While we are not recommending you remove floorboards to stash cash or jewelry (although this is not a bad idea), if you are leaving home for a while, come up with a plan for your valuables. Never leave cash, expensive jewelry, or heirlooms just lying around. If you don’t have a safe or safety deposit box, think outside the box by hiding them in unsuspecting locations like taped under a table.

got-mail7. Make Your Home Look Lived In!

The appearance of your home when you’re away should be the same as when you are there. If you keep your curtains open when you are home, keep them open when you are away. Just be sure to take anything valuable out of plain sight. Keep a couple of lamp lights on, or if you have automatic timers, set them to come on when it starts to get dark. Consider keeping a car parked in the driveway as opposed to in a locked garage to give the impression that someone is home.

8. Lock Up!

This advice goes beyond just making sure all of your windows and doors are locked. Be sure to deadbolt all doors, secure sliding glass doors with a piece of plywood, and windows with wooden dowels so intruders can’t force them open. Also, make sure you turn off the power to your garage door so that it can’t be opened with a universal remote.

9. Now Is the Time to Consider That Home Security System

Studies have shown that homes without security systems are hundreds of times more likely to get broken into. If you have been on the fence about installing an alarm system, consider that (1) Intruders generally leave upon hearing an alarm (2) Security systems add value to your home on the market (3) Homeowners with security systems typically have lower insurance rates. Would you like more information or have questions regarding homeowners insurance? Call us today at 518-793-5173 or request your free quote online.

10. Clean Out Your Car of Too Much Information!

Portable GPS units, mail, and garage door openers left in cars at airports can be all thieves need to find out where you live, know that nobody is home, and give them a way in. Be sure to clean out your car of any clues as to where you live before leaving your car at the airport.

Your home is one of your biggest investments, so have it insured with O’Brien Insurance in Glens Falls NY, your hometown Trusted Choice® insurance agent! Call today at 518-793-5173 or request a quote online!