Ahhh yes...Summer break is almost done. The sun is shinning, the kids are out of school for just a few more weeks, and you have just enough time to take that dream vacation. If you're not headed to the beach, maybe you are taking a week to travel cross country to see the inlaws; whatever the case may be, your house will be empty for an extended time. Rather than worrying about the safety of your home and your possessions while you are away, here are some tips to put your mind at ease.
1. Get a house-sitter
Trusted friends and family are perfect candidates for house sitters. Also, let’s not forget about those poor college students who are home for the summer. Speaking from experience, the opportunity to get out of the house and make a few bucks is very appealing. Asking a trusted individual to hold down the fort while you are away will keep your house in use. Burglars will not want to stop by if the house is occupied.
2. Timers for electronics
An unlit house looks suspicious. Should you leave the lights on for the duration of your vacation? This is not the eco-friendliest option and it could increase your electric bill. Why not invest in some electronic timers? Many of these plug right into your outlet and they allow you to set your lights to turn on and off at designated times. While you’re at it, it may not be a good idea to purchase exterior lights that are motion sensitive. If someone comes on your property, the lights will come on and hopefully scare off unwanted visitors.
*Pro-tip: Burglars who have been scouting the area will notice that your lights come on at the same time every day! As an extra precaution, put your timers on a varied schedule.
3. Ask a neighbor
You neighbors can be your biggest help! If you are out of town for more than a day or two, if would be a good idea to ask your neighbors to keep an eye on things. Ask if they wouldn't mind grabbing your mail and bringing your trash in and out (trash left in the garage will start to stink, this could be a pungent signal to burglars that your house is vacant. It's also unpleasant for those living next to you). Depending on your relationship, your neighbor may even be willing to mow your lawn while you're gone. Make sure that any favors you ask of your neighbors are appropriate and reasonable. And hey! you can offer to help them out when they go on vacation!
4. Lock up and throw away the key
Maybe you shouldn't throw your keys away, but be sure to remove any spare keys that you have hidden outside. Burglars are smart. They will look under the mat or inside that fake rock by your porch. It's best to either leave the key in the house, or give it to your neighbor. After you've taken care of your spare key, make sure that you have locked all entries points into your home. This includes your main entrances, windows, the door inside the garage, etc.
5. Don't over share
What do we love more than our social media? Posting all of the cool things we do on social media! Rather than updating your location or posting your vacation photos while you're out, wait until you get back. Let's try not to advertise to the world that your house is empty. By waiting to post your photos and refraining from location specific status updates, you get to relive your vacation when you get home.
6. Your neighbor needs your insurance agent's info
Life is unpredictable. This does not mean, however, that you shouldn't be prepared. Before you head out on your trip, give your neighbor your insurance agent's contact information. Why? Here is a story from the life of Kevin Wheeler: Kevin's neighbor was out of town for extended trip. While the neighbor was out, heavy rains filled their basement with water. Because Kevin had their insurance information, he was able to help get their claim started for them. Who knows what may happen to your property while you are away? Giving your neighbor your agent's info is a simple tip, but it could save you time and money.
Here at Cardinal, we want to help you stay safe. If you have any questions about your home insurance incase of theft or weather damage while you're away, give us a call.