With many families deciding to travel during the holiday season, now is the time to ensure your home is protected while you are gone. While you and your family are preparing to leave, it’s easy to overlook basic home safety precautions. After all, there are a number of risks that could affect your home while you’re away—including fires, flooding and theft. In order to keep your property safe while you’re gone, consider the following home security guidance:
Reduce the Risk of Fire
- Unplug small appliances and electronic devices.
- Place firewood and piles of leaves away from your property.
- Ensure your furnace is properly maintained.
- Invest in additional smoke detectors.
- Store combustible materials safely (such as propane or gasoline).
Prevent Water Damage
- Consider turning off your home’s water.
- Conduct a thorough inspection of your home before leaving, checking for leaks from your water heater and pipes underneath sinks.
- Ensure your roof is in good shape and ensure windows and doors are properly sealed.
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Inspect and test your sump pump.
Ward Off Intruders
- Lock all windows and doors. Install a chain bolt lock or deadbolt lock on every door to the outside.
- Arrange to have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled while you’re away.
- Remove any house keys you keep outside your home, even if you think they’re in a safe place. If you must leave a key, hide it in a safe and secure place. Don’t leave spare keys in common hiding spots—such as under the doormat.
- Install timer-controlled lights in the interior and exterior of your home to give the illusion that someone is home. Install a motion-activated sensor on outdoor floodlights and around poorly lit areas of your home.
- Stop the newspaper and mail. To do this online, visit the U.S. Postal Service’s website. Mail and newspapers piling up is a sure giveaway that the homeowner is gone.
- Purchase a quality home security system from a company with a reputable history and track record. There are many different types of models, so be sure to make a selection that can suit the unique needs of your specific household and living situation. Check out our guide, How to Choose a Home Security System.
- Keep bushes and trees around your house well-manicured and cut low so that anyone helping you keep an eye on things has a clear view of the exterior of your home. Avoid posting photos of your trip on social media until after you return home.
With all of these considerations, it’s always a great idea to have a family member or trusted neighbor check in regularly to keep an eye on your home throughout your trip.
Taking the proper precautions before you go on vacation can make all the difference when it comes to preventing damage to your home. However, accidents can still occur. That being said, it’s important to secure adequate insurance coverage to ensure that you will be adequately protected in the event that a loss occurs. Be sure to consult with us to confirm that your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date with your personalized needs.
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