Coming home from vacation to find that your home has been burglarized definitely puts a damper on your homecoming. While your homeowners insurance will cover you in the case of theft, the time involved with putting in a claim (not to mention the feeling of violation) is something most of us would rather not deal with.
At Nicholas / Tobin Insurance, we’ve compiled a list of simple steps you can take to deter burglars and keep your home safe while you’re on vacation. Many of these tips are going to be a reminder, but we hope you’ll find a few ideas in here that you hadn’t thought of before!
12 Ways to Deter Burglars
Have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper. Nothing screams “there’s no one here” like a pile of newspapers or a mailbox that is crammed full of mail. Someone who has been casing your house will notice that your mail and newspaper isn’t being delivered, so if you have a neighbor you can ask to pick it up for you, that’s a better option. If you’re expecting packages, ask your neighbor to bring them inside.
Make it look like someone is home. Don’t change what you normally do. If your blinds are usually open, leave them open. If you have any small valuables that can be seen through the windows, remove them from eyesight. Put your lights and television on a timer. Have someone put your trash cans out on trash day and then put them away. Do NOT leave them out while you’re gone. Keeping up with your normal routines will make it look like someone is home.
Keep your yard looking tidy. Have someone mow your lawn while you’re away in the summer. Make sure your landscaping is not overgrown. Overgrown shrubs near doors and windows give a would-be thief cover while they work on breaking in to your house. You don’t want to give them a convenient hiding spot. You might even want to consider planting prickly bushes next to your house!
Lock up. That includes doors AND windows…even second story windows. Use your deadbolts. If you have a sliding glass door, put a piece of wood in the track to stop someone from forcing the door open. Do you normally keep a key outside? Remove that as well. Chances are, someone can figure out your hiding spot, no matter how good you think it is.
Ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your house. Make sure your neighbors know you’re going to be out of town. They can keep an eye out for strange cars in your driveway or people in your yard…or anything else that seems out of the ordinary.
Unplug your garage door opener. If the garage door is unplugged, a thief can’t use a universal remote to get into your house through your garage.
Invest in an alarm. If you have windows or glass near your front entrance that make it easy to see inside, make sure that the control panel for your alarm isn’t visible from the outside. You don’t want that would-be burglar peering in the window to see if the alarm is set or not.
Get a dog. A loud barking dog may deter burglars because he’s unpredictable. Whether a dog is typically friendly with people or not, it’s not a given that he’ll be friendly to someone entering your home that doesn’t belong there. Many burglars will pick an easier target.
Keep your valuables in a heavy safe…and bolt it down if possible. Thieves prefer the small, easy to carry valuables…they make it easy to make a quick getaway. Keeping them in a bolted down safe makes it much more difficult for thieves. A thief might carry a safe out of your house to give himself more time to work on opening it. But if it’s bolted down, chances are he’s not going to take the time to try to open it on the premises.
Pack up the car in the garage, not out in your driveway. It might be a little more inconvenient to load the car in a closed garage, but this way you’re not alerting those that walk or drive by that you’re going on a trip.
Remove your portable GPS from your car or change your home address on your built in GPS. If you’re leaving your car at a parking facility while you’re away, remove your portable GPS so your home address isn’t accessible to would-be thieves. If you have a built in GPS, change your home address to a public building. You can change it back when you get home.
Don’t alert people to the fact you’re not home on social media. While it might be tempting to post vacation pictures, wait until you get back. You might trust your friends, but most of us also have acquaintances that we’re “friends” with on social media as well. Plus, if your social media isn’t really “locked down” well, friends of friends may be able to see your status updates. Why take a chance?!
Do you have any other tips on how to deter burglars from breaking into your home? Share them with us!
Nicholas / Tobin Insurance, located in New Milford, Connecticut, provides its clients the highest quality insurance products and services available today to protect them, their families, and businesses. We offer homeowners insurance, renters insurance, car insurance, business insurance, travel insurance and more! Our commitment to service means our team of licensed insurance professionals is here to help with simple policy questions, consult with you to determine appropriate coverages and be available 24/7 when trouble strikes and you need assistance managing through the claim process.