How safe is your home? We have put together our top tips to help you ensure you have the best prevention steps in place to protect your home, these may also help you reduce your Insurance premium too.
1. Be Mindful with Social Media
Be careful about broadcasting your whereabouts on social media as it can alert thieves to the fact that your home is empty. Wait until you get home before posting any holiday snaps.
You should also cancel or divert any deliveries – boxes left on the door step can be a tell-tale sign for thieves.
2. Purchase A Safe
Typically, burglars target items like wallets, purses, cash, and cards — things that can easily be kept in a safe. Other frequently taken items like jewellery and timepieces can be safely stored in a secure safe too. However, simply owning a safe doesn't automatically mean reduced insurance costs. You might need to ensure it's anchored to the wall or floor as per your insurance company's guidelines. Always verify their conditions beforehand. Lastly, avoid stashing valuables in your bedroom drawers; it's a prime target for thieves.
3. Use Timers for lights
When you're away, your home becomes more vulnerable. However, by having lights turn on and off intermittently, you can potentially give the impression that you're home, deterring would-be burglars.
Remote-controlled lighting allows you to schedule when your lights activate or deactivate. And with advanced smart lighting, you can even manipulate your lights using a mobile app.
4. Keep Valuables Hidden
If you don't have a safe, ensure you keep your possessions well hidden . The more imaginative your hiding spots, the better.
When you leave your home, be mindful not to showcase any valuable items. Consider what a potential thief might spot through your window - laptops, phones, jewellery.
For the valuables you carry with you outside, consider enhancing your home insurance with personal possessions coverage to safeguard against theft.
5. Check Your Security Regularly
Periodically, ensure that all your home's locks and any installed security systems are functioning optimally.
Over time, locks can wear out or become misaligned, and burglar alarms should be professionally inspected and serviced annually. Security cameras might shift from their intended positions, or their views could be blocked by vegetation.
Before heading on a vacation, meticulously inspect all windows, doors, sheds, and other structures. Confirm that cameras and motion sensors are powered and functioning as they should.
As technological advancements in security systems evolve, burglars adapt accordingly. To maintain optimal home security, stay informed about the latest innovations and consider updating your setup if you come across a more protective solution.
6. Keep Keys In a Secure Safe Place
If you need to leave a spare set of keys outside, don’t hide them under a rock or plant pot by the front door or in the garden. If a burglar finds your keys and uses them to break in, there won’t be any sign of forced entry and you may not be able to claim on your home insurance.
It's much safer to invest in a key safe – but make sure it’s one approved by your insurance provider. Alternatively you can always leave a spare set of keys with a neighbour.
7. Invest in outbuilding and shed security
Many items we often keep in garages or sheds, such as tools, bicycles, and sports equipment, are attractive targets for burglars. In some instances, thieves might even search your shed for tools to assist in breaking into your main residence. Given this, it's imperative to ensure the security of all auxiliary structures:
- Invest in a sturdy padlock for these outbuildings and always lock them when they're not in use.
- Examine potential vulnerabilities a burglar might exploit, like windows or weak hinges. Enhance window security by adding wire mesh or grills.
- Think about setting up a battery-operated alarm that will emit a loud warning if someone tries to interfere with the door.
- Safeguard your tools by placing them in a locked container or cabinet, adding an extra layer of deterrence for any intruders.
- Secure your bicycle with a chain to prevent easy theft even if intruders gain access.
8. Install Security Cameras
Security cameras offer an excellent means to keep an eye on activities, notify you of any dubious events, and even prevent potential break-ins.
Instead of traditional CCTV, contemporary home security cameras often come with WiFi features, allowing you to oversee them via your smartphone. If you're handy, you might even set them up on your own.
Video doorbells have also gained traction as a favoured home security tool.
9. Improve Your Door And Window Locks
Ensure that all your windows and doors have robust locks, particularly on the ground level.
Also, remember to check patio and garage doors. If necessary, reinforce their locks and always keep them locked.
10. Neighbourhood Watch
Consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch program, or initiate one if none exists in your area.
Currently, about 2.3 million UK households participate. These programs motivate neighbours to collaboratively work towards fostering safer and more interconnected communities. They tackle local crime issues and unruly behaviours, share insights, and liaise with the police.
Being part of such a scheme can not only enhance the safety of your home but might also qualify you for a discount on your home insurance.
11. Install a Home Alarm
Consider purchasing a home security system; it not only discourages burglars but might also reduce your home insurance costs.
Various systems will activate alarms when external doors or windows are breached or when internal motion is detected.
Such a pronounced alert can draw the attention of neighbours to a potential intrusion and might even intimidate the intruder.
Some alarms are also linked to private security firms that can contact the police. With advanced smart security systems, you can even receive real-time notifications on your smartphone.
12. Outdoor lights
Think about installing outdoor security lights for the evenings or early dawn hours. Motion-activated lights can act as a deterrent to burglars without causing unnecessary disturbance to your neighbours.
13. Secure Your Garden
Items like high-end furniture, advanced BBQ grills, or an external oil tank in your garden can be tempting and accessible targets for burglars.
Even if your garden doesn't contain valuable items, maintaining its security is essential, as it could offer burglars a convenient entry point into your home.
Consider strategic gardening and landscaping to render your garden less inviting to potential thieves. Also, ensure any side or rear gates are secured with padlocks.
Make sure that any security systems, such as cameras or outdoor lighting, cover both your home and garden. For additional suggestions on garden security, refer to our guide.
14. Check Your Home Insurance
While numerous strategies can enhance your home's security and make it less appealing to burglars, it's comforting to know that if you ever face a break-in, your belongings are safeguarded. Contents insurance ensures you're covered, compensating for items that get stolen or are damaged due to incidents like fires or floods.