When you’re leaving for vacation, the house you’re leaving behind probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. And that’s understandable. You’re busy thinking about all of the good things to come… not all the bad things you could come home to. But the truth is, almost 75 percent of break-ins happen in empty houses. Fires and floors can happen at any time, and it’s usually the worst possible time. So, to keep your home safe while you’re away, take a few minutes to take on these tasks.
- Ask someone to keep an eye on it. Whether they’re looking in from across the street or driving by a few times a week, have someone you trust check up on your house.
- Hold your mail. A full mailbox and a pile of newspapers are two signs that no one’s home — signs most criminals are constantly looking for.
- Set your lights to a schedule. You may be tempted to leave a light on while you’re gone, but as it turns out, it could actually be more suspicious. If a criminal is keeping tabs on your house, they’ll notice if a light never turns off. Consider purchasing a light switch timer, then setting a programmed schedule.
- Store your valuables in the safe. If you’re leaving any expensive items behind (think jewelry, cash or heirlooms), leave them in the safe — just in case. Bonus points if your safe is bolted to the floor.
- Unplug anything unnecessary. Protect your home from power surges and electrical fires. Things like TVs, washers, dryers, toasters, coffee makers, etc. can all be unplugged, which can even save you money on your energy bill.
- Clean out your refrigerator. Before you go, get rid of anything that could mold.
- Set the temp. In the winter, set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees. In the summer, set it to at least 85 degrees.
- Load your luggage in the garage. If you pack the car discreetly, fewer people will know you’ll be departing.
- Lock all windows and doors. If you have sliding doors, you may even want to place a metal or wooden rod in the track. And don’t forget to take the spare hey inside (if you have one hidden).
- Leave a car in the driveway. Set the scene. Create the illusion that someone’s home, even when they’re not. (Just remember to remove the garage door opener.)
- Don’t share your travel plans on social media. The more details you share on social media, the more likely someone could break in while you’re away.
Phew! Now you know how to keep your home safe while you’re away. It’s also a great idea to do a home inventory too – if you don’t have one.
This article originally appeared on Frankenmuth Insurance. It’s also not just good advice for homeowners, but renters too. Renters should keep receipts and have a renter’s policy. Not convinced? Six questions about renter’s insurance can tell you if it’s right for you.