Economic pressures have seen theft and attempted theft rise by 12% between 2009-11.
Stats also show that when people leave their homes to attend events, or go on holiday, thefts can increase by up to 24%.
These statistics from AXA show that with the continuing pressure on personal finances, a rise in claims is almost inevitable.
So whether you're going on holiday or heading out for the day, it's worth taking a few simple steps to protect your home and property.
1. Move your post
Piles of unopened letters are a sure sign that someone’s away. Ask a trusted neighbour to move your post out of sight or to empty your mailbox. The Royal Mail also offers a Keepsafe service, which will reserve your post at the sorting office for up to two months while you’re away.
2. Don’t advertise your departure
Make sure that only people you know and trust are aware of your holiday plans. If you announce your plans to unknown people, they could use the information for an organised burglary.
- Don’t say you’re ‘away’ on your home or mobile answer machine.
- Consider how you talk about your holiday on social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter. If you don’t have high security settings on these sites, you don’t know who could see that you’re away.
- If you take a taxi to the airport, avoid discussing your holiday plans with the driver unless you know them. You could even make it sound like you have a house-sitter – whether you do or not.
3. Keep curtains and blinds open as normal
Do not draw all the curtains in your house, as this wouldn’t look like someone was living there during the day. Keep your blinds and curtains open and simply move expensive items out of direct sight instead.
4. Secure your valuables
Don’t leave car keys, valuable items or jewellery in sight. Use a secure, well hidden safe or leave precious items with a trusted friend or family member. Don’t hide valuables in your underwear drawer or under the bed – these are classic hiding places, which any thief will search immediately.
Most people put a tag on their luggage in case it gets lost in transit. However, the information you leave off the tag can be just as important as what you put on. You should put your name, a mobile phone number, email address and the phone number of your destination if you know it.
Never put your home address or landline phone number. Anyone who sees your luggage tag will know that you’re not at home and it’s not hard for someone to find out your address from the telephone number. If you really want to put an address, go for a place that isn’t your home – such as your work.
Security lighting will illuminate anyone coming close to your property, which can be a big deterrent for would-be thieves. You can also set indoor lights on timers to give the impression that people are home. Set a number of lights in different rooms, on different time schedules, so that the lights come on in a more realistic and varied pattern.
7. Alarm System
Install a reliable alarm system which will sound an alarm if anyone attempts to enter your property. Some systems will even link directly to a security firm as an added level of reassurance.
8. Inform your neighbours
Tell a trusted neighbour that you’re going away, so they can keep an eye on your property. If you’re on good terms with your neighbour, they may even water your plants, put out the rubbish bin or check up on the property every now and again too.
9. Check your insurance policy
Your home insurance policy should cover you against theft or loss while you’re away, but you should still check the details of your policy to confirm which parts of your building or contents are protected. You may also find that your home will not be protected if you’re away for longer than 60 days so it's always worth checking with your provider before you travel.
10. Lock all doors and windows
Ensure that all doors, including doors to the garden or shed, are fully locked. Shut and lock all windows, especially small windows in the bathroom or round the back of your house. Don’t leave keys to the window nearby or in sight.
How John Lewis Insurance can help?
John Lewis Home Insurance can protect your home while you’re away by offering financial protection against theft, damage and loss.
Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply. A full copy of the policy wording and the insurance complaints procedure are available on request.
John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered in England No. 00233462. Registered office 171 Victoria Street London SW1E 5NN. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Ageas Insurance Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Ageas Insurance Limited. Registered in England No. 354568. Registered office: Ageas House, Tollgate, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 3YA