Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When you go on holiday the last thing you want is to constantly worry about the security of your home. Recent SAPS crime data has shown that incidents of house burglaries increase by 8 % during December.  

“When you’re relaxing at the end of the year away from home, it’s the perfect opportunity for criminals to break in. Avoid making your home an easy target,” says John October spokesman for Dial Direct Insurance.

It’s essential to make it seem that your house is occupied even if you’re not there.

“Be discreet when you’re packing suitcases into the car. Someone could be watching so be extra vigilant and if possible, pack your car in the garage and out of sight.

“Simply having someone around the house and coming in and out on a daily basis creates the impression that your home is occupied.  However, if you prefer not to have someone staying there while you’re away then don’t forget to cancel your newspaper subscription.

“Always test your alarm system before you go on holiday and advise your security company that you are going to be away. Testing should be done outside of peak hours, between 8am and 4pm, or after 8pm. It needs to be checked in good time before you leave so that if there is a fault, it can be fixed before you vacate the house.

“Finally, before you leave your house, go through your home and double check that all doors and windows are closed, locked and secure,” advises October.

Here are some more guidelines to make sure your home stays safe while you’re away:

  • First check that you are properly covered on your insurance policy for all of your household items
  • The amount for which you have insured the contents of your home should be equivalent to the amount it would cost to replace all the items with new items, at today’s prices
  • Lock sentimental and irreplaceable items away
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date inventory list of all your household possessions
  • Security while you’re away is often about appearances. If you have a garden or potted plants in the driveway that are visible from the street, have someone come around regularly to maintain them. Wilted plants and an overgrown lawn are a signal that your house is unoccupied.
  • If nobody will be house sitting, it’s worth your while to put your lights on a timer, and in several rooms. If you can, try to create a sequence for the lights that follows your day-to-day routine. Set the timer to turn on the living room lights at sunset, as you would if you were home.

With the risk of sounding gloomy, a break-in isn’t the only risk facing your home while you are away.

“It is wise to switch off the taps in the kitchen that feed your washing machine and dishwasher, and switch off your geyser at the mains board. It is enough of an aggravation dealing with a burst geyser or pipes when you are home, and at least then you can deal with it immediately.  Imagine coming back after a peaceful week away to the aftermath of flooding. Ruined carpets and damaged furniture are just a few of the results you would be forced to contend with,” says October.

October concludes:  “Over the holidays, it is important to take precautionary measures. Even with all the insurance in the world, it's a painful experience to come back from an enjoyable holiday and find that your home has been emptied of your valuables. You owe it to yourself to ensure that the chances of that happening are minimal.”

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