10 steps to securing your home

Published:
16 May 2013
Topic:
News,Insurance,Travel,Home

Everybody loves going on holiday, but there is a moment - usually an hour before you leave for the airport and your house resembles the opening of Home Alone - when you begin to wonder if it's worth the hassle.

Even if you do everything the night before and breeze out of the house on schedule, there'll come a point when you'll get that nagging feeling that you might have left the kitchen window open.

And what about the gas hob, did you turn that off? And the kids were last in the bathroom, did they leave the taps running like they always do? And did you remember to water the cat and put the plants out..?

Before you know it, you're half way around the world, sipping cocktails as the kids throw themselves down hundred-foot waterslides, and all you can think about is whether or not you locked the back door, cancelled the milk and turned the telly off at the plug.

But fret no more, simply cut out and keep our handy, 10-point checklist to ensure your home is protected while you're away on your travels...

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 Area  Look out for

 a

Doors and windows   

All windows closed and locked, especially:
Bathroom window
Kitchen window
Back door.

                          
Central heating

Particularly important if you're travelling in winter; make sure your heating is set to come on at certain times to ensure the pipes don't freeze, crack and burst when you return.

 
Gas fire, oven and hobs Make sure all gas appliances are turned off.  
Electrical appliances/plugs Turn electrical appliances off in every room, including all plug sockets. However, if you're leaving your heating on a timer, make sure the thermostat/smart meter isn't turned off.  
Taps Check the bathroom, kitchen and utility rooms and ensure taps are tightly turned off. Even a dripping tap can run up a substantial water bill if left for two weeks if you're on a meter.  
Lock interior doors If you have any interior doors, including garage doors, that can be locked from the inside then make sure they're locked. The more rooms that are isolated in this way, the more secure your house is (think of it like an onion with layers and not an egg that can be simply cracked open).  
Set alarm for whole house Make sure you fully set your alarm before you leave. It could be worth resetting the code and leaving it with a neighbour in case it goes off while you're away.  
Cancel milk deliveries Don't forget to cancel your milk deliveries as bottles of unopened milk piling up on the doorstep will give any would-be burglars a good indication the house is empty.  
Let the neighbours know It's always a good idea to let the neighbours know you're going away and, if possible, give one of them a key so they can occasionally check everything's in order and move any post that may have stacked up, as this is another sign of an empty house.  
Move the car If you have a garage, get into the habit of parking your car in there (rather than filling it with junk, bikes and your vinyl collection) as this will make it harder for potential burglars to track your comings and goings. You'll also save on your car insurance by not parking on the road. Another tactic if you're going away is to park a car on your drive (if you have one).  

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One final task before you leave is to check the terms and conditions on your home insurance and make sure your home security and preparations are in line with the terms of the cover.

For instance, if you are deemed not to have made your home properly secure before you left, your insurer might quibble over a burglary claim. So if you left a window open, a door unlocked, or even a key left in an external door, your insurer may not pay out.

If you're going away for more than 30 consecutive days, you might have to arrange for extra cover as most standard policies won't cover you for any longer.

Once you've worked through the checklist you can head off and relax - and you'll only need to about whether you opt for the mojito or the Mai Tai while the kids throw themselves down that hundred-foot waterslide.

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About This Author

Les Roberts

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Senior writer

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