Securing your holiday home during winter will not only protect it from cold weather and storms but will also reduce the risk of a break-in.
A little time and effort now can go a long way to saving a lot of hassle and money in the future.
By following our top tips and preventive measures you should be able to relax a bit more, safe in the knowledge that you've done your best to protect your home whilst it's unoccupied.
So, before you lock up, carry out these checks to secure your holiday home during winter.
Put any outdoor furniture, tools and loose garden items in storage - ideally a garage or shed. You want to lock away anything that can be blown about by strong winds or be stolen.
Make sure any sheds, garages and gates are securely locked with strong padlocks.
Installing motion-triggered lighting for the exterior of the house is a great deterrent to burglars as are CCTV cameras and home security alarms.
If you have a garden, mow the lawn before you go. An overgrown lawn is a telltale sign of an empty property.
If you are going to leave the central heating on whilst away, check the tank to make sure there is sufficient oil.
Turn off the gas at the mains unless needed to maintain the central heating.
Install timers on a few interior lights to go off at different times. This will make it look like someone is home.
Unplug all unused electronic equipment. This will reduce the risk of fire and power surges.
Empty and clean the fridge and freezer, and turn off and leave the doors open.
Lock all windows and doors including internal doors. Locking internal doors can slow down burglars who have managed to gain access to your property.
Keep all valuables out of sight. Better yet, don't leave any valuables in your unoccupied holiday home. There will probably be some exclusions in your Holiday Home Insurance contents cover when the property is empty. If your policy is with Allianz, you can check this Household Policy Document for more details.
To prevent water damage:
Clean your gutters before the winter and fit a gutter guard. With the winter months comes a lot of water which can seep underneath the roof and into your home if the gutters become blocked or damaged from cold weather.
If you aren't planning to keep the heating system running, then you should turn off the property's water supply at the mains and drain down the entire cold water system.
However, if you can, leave your heating running at a low temperature. This will help reduce the likelihood of pipes freezing and dampness occurring.
For more tips, have a read of a blog on how cold weather can affect your home.
Ask your trusted neighbour for help:
With Allianz Holiday Home Insurance, when your holiday home is unoccupied for over 30 consecutive days, it must be inspected both internally and externally at least once every 30 days thereafter by yourself or a person that has been authorised to do so by you. So, if you live far away from your holiday home, enlisting your neighbour's help will save you some hassle.
With your trusted neighbour on board, ask them to check on your empty holiday home once a week.
If you have a driveway, ask them to park their car on it every now and then to make the house look occupied.
Avoid a build-up of mail or newspapers in your letterbox or inside your front door by getting your neighbour to move them and place them out of sight.
As you can see, carrying out a few basic checks will decrease the likelihood of issues arising and increase its overall security and give you peace of mind. Hopefully, this will mean less worrying and more relaxing at Christmas and over the rest of the winter months.
For added peace of mind, make sure your holiday home insurance offers adequate cover. Click here to see what's available at Allianz and to get an online quote in minutes.
Allianz p.l.c is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Information correct as of date of publishing. This blog will not be updated or edited so the information may become outdated.