Safe as houses

Safe as houses

Last updated on 13th December, 2017 at 10:02 am

Heading on holiday? Ensure peace of mind by drawing up a comprehensive checklist of insurance and security measures before you depart for your summer holidays.

As holidays near, the temptation is to pack your bags and rush out the door to enjoy some much-needed R&R. But it is really important to take a moment to make sure your home is safe and secure when you’re not there. Here are a few simple things you can do before you head out the front door…

Insurance advice

Check that your household contents insurance is up to date and what it covers. If you don’t have insurance, now’s a good time to get a quote. You can link it to your other short-term policies to get a better deal. It’s also far more affordable than having to replace TVs, computers and other high-value goods when your bank account is still reeling from holiday spending. Your insurance policy payments are likely to be lower if you have a good alarm system. Get your alarm serviced well before you go on holiday. A faulty system that goes off continuously is another green light to criminals that you’re away. In the unfortunate event that you do become a crime statistic, an alarm system that is not fully functional could also void your insurance claim. Be warned! Your insurer will check. It’s not only criminals you should worry about. Murphy’s Law your geyser will burst or lightning will strike the tree in your back garden when you’re hundreds of kilometres away, so make sure your building insurance is all paid up.

Don’t leave clues that you’re away

  • The most obvious sign that you’re not in residence is your house shrouded in darkness for a few nights in a row – even the crooks know when there’s loadshedding! Invest in a timer switch if you’re concerned about the cost of leaving your lights on 24/7. A powerful outdoor light with a motion sensor will also deter any would-be burglars lurking in the bushes.
  • An overflowing postbox is a neon sign that there’s nobody home. Get someone to collect your mail every couple of days, and cancel your newspaper deliveries.
  • Don’t leave a message on your answering machine or voicemail saying you’re away.
  • If you’re taking a road trip, load up your car in your garage. Suitcases being piled into your boot and bicycles being strapped to your roof rack in plain sight is a dead giveaway.

Locking up

Test your alarm system at least three weeks before your departure date. This will give you ample time to do any repairs and maintenance. It’s best to do the testing during off-peak times, but remember your neighbours won’t take too kindly to being woken up at 2am by your shrieking alarm. Advise your security company that you are going to be away and supply them with emergency contact numbers and details of friends or relatives with keys to your property. If you’ve hired a house-sitter – not a bad idea if you have pets – teach them to arm and disarm your alarm system properly. Do a border patrol before locking your front door behind you.

  • Don’t leave any keys in doors with glass panes or adjoining windows; it’s just an invitation for a smash-and-grab.
  • As an added security measure, place a fitted piece of wood or metal rod in the rail space between sliding doors and their frames to make them harder to open.
  • Close all skylights, no matter how small or how high. Even kitty’s flap can be used as an access point.
  • Don’t leave spades, ladders or any other items that can be used to gain access to your house lying around in your garden.

OK, now that you’ve ticked off all the items on your list, go off and enjoy your holiday. By Nicci Botha

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