How to protect your home this winter - and don't forget the insurance!
Do you know how to protect your home from unwanted intruders? We?ve got some helpful tips to share with you but first, did you know that around a third of people living in flats don?t have contents insurance? With your home more likely to be burgled in the winter than during the rest of the year, whether you own your home or are renting, now is the time to sharpen up your security and make sure you have the right insurance policy in place.
Research from MoneySupermarket shows that around half of us are most nervous about leaving our homes empty while we are on our summer holiday but in fact you are more likely to be burgled in the autumn or winter. More than half of all burglaries take place in the evening or at night ? and darker evenings make breaking into your home easier.
So, what can you do to keep potential thieves out of your home? Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep burglars at bay. They may sound obvious but they are worth remembering.
- Close your windows ? dark evenings make it easy for burglars to sneak in and grab valuables near to open windows.
- Keep keys safe by placing them a safe distance from doors and windows.
- Make sure tools and ladders are stored out of sight and preferably locked away, so they can?t be used to get into your house or block.
- Use a light timer ? these make it look as if someone?s at home even if the house is empty.
- Replace the locks ? previous residents may still have keys to your home, especially if you are renting but do check with the landlord first.
In a recent spate of burglaries in Ireland, thieves have been putting tape over door locks so they can see whether or not a house is occupied, so check locks for any signs of tampering - and make sure your home looks lived in when you are away. Don?t forget to cancel any deliveries and make sure a neighbour ensures any post is pushed through your letterbox.
?Claiming on your home insurance may be difficult if someone breaks in without forcing entry, especially if there is no evidence of a crime being committed,? warns MoneySupermarket. This is known as the duty of care, so to make sure your insurer pays out in full, always check windows and doors are locked before you go out, whether you?re just popping to the shops or going out for the night.
And if you are one of the 60% of people living in a flat who don't have contents insurance because you don't think anyone can easily gain entry to your home, think again. You may not be first in the line of fire for theft if you live on the upper floors of your block but what about water damage or fire? Leaks in particular cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage in blocks of flats every year, so don't take the risk. Contents insurance costs a lot less than the average Sky or broadband subscription, so do yourself a favour and get covered.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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