For many of us, leaving our homes unoccupied for any length of time can result in some anxiety. Holidaymakers can find it especially worrisome, since houses or flats are often left empty for up to a fortnight – or longer.

Fortunately, there are a number of prudent steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of being broken into.

Here are some tips to help keep your home secure while you're away on holiday.

Make would-be burglars think you are at home

  • Use lights on timers to simulate realistic light use: coming on at regular times and going off at your usual bedtime. If you use a timer then make sure it conforms to British safety standards and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Find an old plug in radio of the type that does not go on standby and connect it to the mains, again on a timer switch. The continuous sound of music or voices may put off all but the most fearless of burglars. But bear in mind your neighbours so don't overdo the volume.
  • Give visual clues such as leaving curtains or blinds as you normally do
  • Turn the volume down on your home phone as an unanswered phone can be a sign that no one's home.

Enlist others to give the impression that 'someone is at home'

Consider asking a trusted friend or family member to house sit for you and look after your property while you are away. Or ask them to simply mow your lawn and generally take care of your garden while you are away. It means there is more activity around your home, which can be a deterrent in itself. If you are taking your car away with you or parking it at an airport or resort then you could ask someone to park on your drive or outside your home.

Locking windows and doors

Lock all windows and doors. Once you've locked them all put the keys out of sight as there is no point in securing your property if an intruder can simply reach the keys through a letterbox or a broken window.

Work with neighbours

Ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your property. You could offer to do the same for them when they go away.

Don't advertise to the world that you are going on holiday!

However excited you may be to be jetting off to sunnier climates, think about whether you really need to advertise to all your friend and followers that your home is currently vacant! You may also want to think about posting pictures on social media whilst you are away – although your friends and family will love them, so will any potential burglar.

Remember that the fewer people who know about your absence, the better. Consider if it's really wise to mention your holiday on social media sites.

Ensure streetlamps are functioning

Darkness is the burglar's best friend – so ensure that all nearby streetlamps are working properly. If not, contact your council and ask for them to be repaired as soon as possible.

Consider an alarm system

A loud alarm will scare off the boldest of criminals – but even if you don't wish to invest in such a device, buy a phoney alarm company sign to make burglars think twice.

Check you have adequate insurance cover

Having the right insurance is vital if you want real peace of mind against burglary so you know that if the worst does happen, you'll be covered. Always check your home insurance policy to see how long you can leave your property unoccupied before it could become void or be subject to cover restrictions. If your holiday is longer than your insurance cover provides, then you may need a specialised unoccupied property insurance product.


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