During December most of are busy hunting, gathering and hauling home a stash of gifts for everyone on our “nice” lists. Home security is likely the last thing property owners are thinking about when dashing to a family event or staying late at work for the annual office party. Empty homes, distracted owners (did I lock the back door?) and houses full of brand new loot make it the “most wonderful time of the year” for thieves too!
Statistically, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day report among the highest burglary rates of the year. So prevalent at this time of year, home theft has even been a central theme in popular holiday films including Home Alone and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And, if like the Griswold’s, a Holiday Vacation is on your agenda; you may be leaving your home alone for an extended time.
By now you’ve taken the point that it is a good idea to pay a little extra attention to securing your home (and car) this season, but there’s an upside too— home security can save you money on your homeowners insurance policy.
According to Nationwide®, the first and foremost of their “Four Tried & True” strategies to lower your home insurance cost is Improving Home Security… being a proactive homeowner is key to getting the best deal on insurance to protect your home. Home security systems, smoke detectors, and fire alarms all improve home security because they alert homeowners and first responders to harmful situations. Security systems range from single devices, such as motion sensors, to Internet-enabled whole-house systems.* Insurance underwriters reward such precautions in various ways, including providing discounts!
*See also our All I Want for Christmas… Is A Home Security System?
Research shows that if it takes a thief more than four or five minutes to break into a home, he or she will go elsewhere. Take the time to “case” your house or apartment just as a burglar would and consider these steps to make it more crime-resistant, especially at points of easiest entry.
- Make your home look occupied at all times, lights or a television on a timer is a great deterrent.
- Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your personal plans online or in public notices (such as giving your address when advertising items for sale).
- Store lock boxes or safes in a hidden area of the house. The basement or lowest level is recommended to reduce the risk of heat damage from a fire. Keep all personal information (passports, financial statements, etc.) locked inside.
- Keep valuables out of easy sight. If your valuable paintings, silver collection or home entertainment system are easy to see from outside the house, consider rearranging your furnishings to make your home less inviting to criminals. Close curtains or blinds to prevent thieves from taking inventory of your personal belongings and seeing the home’s layout.
- Secure your home wireless network at home to protect your family from cyber criminals
- Before placing anything in the garbage, do the following:
- Shred all papers.
- Destroy old computer hard drives.
- Break down all boxes, brand names alert thieves to items inside the house.
- Install simple security devices. Padlocks, door and window locks, grates, bars and bolts can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
- Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones also ring at an outside service.
- Invest in security cameras. Cover key entry points and mount out of easy reach, these tell burglars someone is watching; focus one where your packages are delivered to deter porch pirates.
- Trade a bit of privacy for added security. Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows. High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy, but can also be an asset to a burglar.
- Shine a light. Force any would-be burglar out of the shadows. Exterior lights and motion detectors, mounted out of easy reach, can reduce the darkness shielding a would-be burglar.
- Establish a routine to check that doors and windows are locked and alarm systems are turned on.
- Join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what’s happening in your area.
- Notify the police and/or your neighborhood watch if you see suspicious strangers in your area.
- Don’t carry house keys on a ring bearing your home address or leave house keys with your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant.
- Keep garages and sheds locked; store ladders, tools and any items helpful to a burglar inside.
- Change entry device access codes periodically to prevent visible wear on frequently used keys.
- Don’t hide your keys in “secret” places outside your home— burglars know where to look.
- Make sure that your address is visible for police, firemen and paramedics for easy identification of the home, but don’t post the family name on the mailbox or on the house.
Call us at 401-846-9629 let’s look at all of your options for the best coverage at the best price.
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Info Sources: Insurance Information Institute, Nationwide Insurance