How to keep your home safe over the summer holidays

house break-in

Summer holidays are a chance to reconnect with your kids and show them there’s more to life than school and computer games. Unfortunately, thieves also get out and about when the sun shines, so it’s important to take precautions to protect your home and belongings.

Burglars get busy in summer

According to a recent Express article, home burglaries increase in August with a 12% higher rate of break-ins compared to July. The reason why thieves ramp up activity in these months is that there are easy pickings: open windows, unlocked doors and homes being left empty while families go on holiday all provide criminals with opportunities.

Official data shows there were almost half a million burglaries in the UK last year – a rise of 6% on the year before. Beside the upset and inconvenience of a burglary, children can find break-ins particularly distressing, resulting in anxiety and nightmares. It makes sense to play it safe with home security to deter would-be thieves.

Poor security could make your insurance invalid

Insurance policies generally have a clause saying you should take reasonable care to secure your property against burglars. This means if you do something that lets the burglars waltz in like they own the place – for example, through an open window or unlocked front door – your insurer might refuse to pay out or reduce the amount.

A common mistake is for people to tell the insurer their property is protected by an alarm or CCTV but forget to actually switch on the system. Your insurance policy premiums will be based on what you told the insurer about your home, and there could be problems if reality doesn’t match up to what’s on the paper.

Top tips for improving home security

These top tips from the police should help to keep your home safe.

  1. If you can’t see it, lock it

An opportunist thief could target your home in the time it takes to hang the washing out, nipping in through an unlocked door or open window. Keep it locked if you’re not right there.

  1. Invest in timers

Burglars target obviously empty homes. Pre-set timers for lights, radios and the TV can confuse them about whether someone’s home, deterring a break-in.

  1. Secure your garden

Make sure your garden is secure and store ladders and tools indoors, or else thieves could use them to break in. Bikes and valuable appliances should be locked to an immovable object.

  1. Keep valuables out of sight

Putting high-value items within view of ground view windows gives thieves an extra incentive to break in, as they’ll know what they can get. Hide them away, perhaps in a safe or bank vault, for better storage.

  1. Make friends with the neighbours

Burglars hate close-knit neighbourhoods –  it makes it much more likely that someone will call the police on them. Consider joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, and ask a friendly neighbour to keep an eye on your property while you’re away.

Make sure your summer isn’t spoiled by burglars – get a quick and easy home insurance quote in just five minutes!

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