Traveling during the holidays? Make a home safety list and check it twice.
More than half of Americans are planning trips for the upcoming holidays. That’s despite staffing shortages at airlines and hotels, higher fares, fewer flights, and increased gas prices.
If you’re one of the millions who are planning to travel this holiday season, do what you can to protect your home before you ever leave town.
The checklist below can help you get started – now!
An estimated 34% of burglars enter homes through unlocked front doors. Check that all windows and doors are shut and locked properly, and make repairs as needed.
- Use deadbolts
- Lock pet doors
- Lock outdoor sheds
- Remove money and other valuables from cars parked outside… and lock them
Hide your valuables
Hide expensive or sentimental items in unusual places, like the kitchen pantry or laundry hamper, so thieves can’t easily swipe them. Make sure your insurance coverage is not only up to date, but also covers new items that you may have recently acquired.
PRO TIP: Today’s criminals may want to steal your identity. Don’t leave personal information, like social security cards, financial information, credit cards, passports, and other documents in plain sight.
Secure Your Garage
Disengage your garage door opener before you leave and lock it by hand. If you leave a car parked outside, make sure to remove any garage door remotes from it. Hide any valuables stored in your garage and think about installing motion detector lights on the corners of your garage.
Place a hold on packages and mail
Beware of porch pirates! Don’t add to the statistics:
Packages at your doorstep and a stuffed mailbox are sure signs to a burglar that no one is home. Arrange for the USPS to hold your mail at your local post office and pause subscriptions and newspapers if you plan to be away for a while.
Leave a spare key with someone
Don’t hide your house key under a mat or outdoor planter. Leave your spare key with a trusted person or consider replacing your door lock with a keyless entry model.
Consider installing a security system
Studies show that burglars try to avoid houses that are protected by alarms. 83% of burglars admitted that they check to see if there’s an alarm and 60% said they would change their mind if they saw one was installed.
Have an alarm? Tell your alarm company that you’re going to be away and display security company signs on your property.
Interesting stat: Homes that are not protected by a security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized.
Install a video doorbell
See who’s at your door, talk to them directly through an app on your phone, and keep an eye on your front porch or driveway for those porch pirates!
Shut off the water
Turn off the water main to avoid potential flooding problems while you’re gone.
Unplug nonessential appliances and holiday lights
Help prevent electrical fires by unplugging unnecessary appliances as well as indoor and outdoor holiday lights. According to the NFPA, electrical distribution or holiday lighting was involved in almost half of home Christmas tree fires.
Set a light timer
Interior light timers can make it look like someone is home – helping to keep away unwanted guests.
Ask someone you trust to watch your house
Consider hiring a house sitter or asking a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your property and stop by every couple of days. Having someone there can help deter thieves.
Don’t reveal too much on social media
Although it may be tempting to share your plans on social media, be careful how much detail you reveal. Don’t share the exact dates you’ll be away, switch your settings and profiles to private, and turn off geotagging.
As you finalize your travel plans for the holidays, consider reviewing your insurance policies and taking these precautions to keep your home safe and sound. Contact us with any questions or to help you review your policies.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. BRP Group, Inc. and its affiliates, do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal or accounting professionals before engaging in any transaction.