Home security tips for the holiday season

By Chris Dougherty, General Manager, Westlawn Insurance
18 December 2013

For many families, the Christmas holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and relax. Unfortunately, crime doesn’t take a Christmas holiday break. In fact, it’s probably the busiest time for crooks as they take advantage of empty homes stacked with expensive Christmas gifts.

Before going away on your Christmas break this year, consider these home security tips:

1. Home security: First of our home security tips is to secure your home with deadlocks and a working security system. Consider installing digital video CCTV which is now much more affordable than even just a few years ago. Lock away any garden tools or other expensive outdoor equipment. Don’t leave ladders about as they come in handy for burglars attempting to enter your home.

Don’t hide spare keys near the back or front door as cagey burglars will find them. Trim trees and bushes in the front yard so there’s a clear view of your home from the street.

2. The lived in look: Make your home look as lived in as possible. Ask a neighbour who’ll be around during the break to collect your mail and put the bins out (offer to return the favour when they go away). Leave a couple of pairs of shoes by the front doorstep, switch on sensor lights and leave a radio tuned into your favourite station inside.

If you have the newspaper delivered, cancel it or invite your neighbour to a free paper while you’re away. Another way to give your home the lived in look is to ask a neighbour to occasionally park their car in your driveway or out on the street in front of your house.

3. Don’t tempt would-be burglars: Before Christmas, position your Christmas tree so that it can’t be easily seen from any windows. Presents under a Christmas tree offer an irresistible temptation for burglars lurking around your neighbourhood in the busy lead up to Christmas. Naturally, the same goes for when you’re doing your Christmas shopping. Don’t leave presents visible in your car. Lock them away in the boot.

After Christmas, chances are there’ll be plenty of empty packaging around the house. Boxes emblazoned with brand names and model numbers tell would-be burglars exactly what was stacked under your Christmas tree. Before leaving for your holiday, discreetly dispose of the boxes by cutting them up and placing them in your recycle bin. Don’t leave them out on the footpath for everyone to see.

4. Avoid telling the world about your holiday plans: In this age of social media, this is one of our most important home security tips. You could inadvertently announce to the world that no one will be home for the next three weeks with the simple click of a button. While it may be tempting to share your exciting holiday plans with friends and followers, or to post updates and photos from exotic locations, consider the security implications before doing so.

Check your privacy settings before posting and if you’re not certain who can gain access to the information you post, perhaps wait until you return from holidays before sharing.

Remember, it’s also important to protect your information in the real world. Avoid telling friends about your holiday plans while in public places, where you can’t be certain who is listening.

5. Ensure your insurance is in order: While you can take precautions to reduce the risks, you can’t eliminate those risks altogether. Before going on holidays, make sure your home and contents insurance is in order and that you have the right amount of cover. If you haven’t updated the value of your contents or home in a while, now would be the perfect time. This way, you can relax on holidays knowing that if something does happen while you’re away, you’re covered.

Follow these home security tips and remember to check that your home and contents insurance is in order, contact your Westlawn Insurance Broker.

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Westlawn Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 65 075 847 291 AFSL No. 246520