When you leave you home, whether it is for a quick weekend getaway or a 3 month exploration, you should always take some basic safety precautions to keep your home as safe as possible. Here are some steps you should take before leaving home on any trip.
Make Your Home Appear Occupied
There are a number of ways to make your home appear occupied while you are away. One of the simplest is to leave a key with a trusted neighbour. They could make sure grass stays cut or periodically turn on and off different lights around the house. Very little says that a house is empty more than darkness. A house remaining in complete darkness for long periods of time is a sure sign that there is nobody home. On the other hand, it can be very costly to leave your lights on for the duration of your trip. You should invest in timers that can turn on and off your lights automatically in accordance with a schedule selected and programmed by you. Have your lights turning on and off throughout the day and night will give the illusion that someone is home and will therefore not leave your home looking unoccupied.
One of the tell tale sings that a house has been left unoccupied is a build up of mail at the front door. A neighbour with a key will be able to routinely collect you mail stopping a build up. Alternatively you could avail of An Post’s “MailMinder” service where they will hold your mail for up to 12 weeks.
Ensure All Doors And Windows Are Locked
It is crucial that you lock up you home before leaving for a holiday. Nothing will ruin a homecoming like finding out your home has been ransacked in you absence. It is good practice to, before leaving, do the rounds. Check that all external doors and windows are closed and locked, on both upper and lower levels. Locking internal doors is also beneficial. This is because it will slow down intruders in the event of a break in as well as helping minimise the spread of a fire if one was to occur.
It maybe a condition of Allianz household insurance policy documents that all external doors, including French doors and patio doors, as well as all ground floor windows and other accessible opening windows are fitted with appropriate locks, and that all such locks are in operation on all practical occasions, at night and when the property is left vacant or unattended.*
*Policy conditions and exclusions will apply. Refer to our Household Policy Document for full details.
Unplug All Unnecessary Electrical Devices
This tip will not only save you money on your energy bills but it could also prevent damage occurring from fire while you are away. Take the time before you leave to unplug all unnecessary devices, like lamps etc. appliances left plugged in may overheat which could result in a fire starting. Any fire, no matter what the size, can result in massive damages to the property.
Top Tip: A large number of devices can even be draining on electricity when they are turned off e.g. phone chargers so remember to unplug them.
Check The Batteries in Your Alarms
Before leaving for a trip you should check that the batteries in you alarms are working. Testing alarms and if necessary, changing their batteries before you leave for your holidays will help protect your home while you are away.
It maybe a condition of your Allianz policy document that you maintain the alarm installation in accordance with the suppliers recommendations and to have the alarm switched on and in service on all practical occasions, at night and when the property is left vacant or unattended*.
*For more details on conditions and exclusions please refer to our Household Policy Document
Don’t Broadcast Your Departure
Many people live their lives through social media, updating both friends and strangers on their daily activities. It may be tempting to let your followers know that you are off on an exciting trip but you should refrain from doing so. These types of updates simply inform the public that your home is to be left unoccupied. Think to yourself, would you feel comfortable announcing to a crowd that you are leaving your house unoccupied at Christmas. If not then you should refrain from posting a detailed vacation plan on social media.
When homes are left unoccupied they become more susceptible to break-ins and damages from unnoticed. Luckily, taking a few simple precautions can ensure that your lasting memories are of a wonderful trip rather than a home insurance claim.
This guidance is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice or other professional advice. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.
Information correct as of 27/04/17
Allianz do not endorse or recommend any of the Products referenced in this article.