A trip could mean you’re leaving the house for a weekend, a month, or longer. You’ve put hours into thoughtfully organizing flights, hotels, and other accommodations. However, the planning shouldn’t stop there.
Your home is vulnerable to outside forces when you’re away. Marv and Harry could be walking around your neighborhood waiting for you to leave. Here are eight tips to protect your home while you’re gone.
1. Stay Off Social Media
Updating your social media with pictures and videos may be tempting when you’re away from home. Imagine you bought a fancy rifle case and want to show it to your hunting buddies. However, you should err on the side of caution with posting.
For security purposes, waiting until you return to post your pictures is best. Someone who sees you’re on a hunting trip could use the opportunity to break into your house. If you post, ensure only your trusted friends can see your photos. Over 300 million people use social media in the U.S., so don’t take any chances.
2. Ask Friends to Check
Friends and helpful neighbors can be your biggest supporters during your trip. Ask them to swing by your house and ensure everything is intact. Unwanted guests could be snooping around, so it’s helpful for your friends to see them and call the police.
Some people consider their mail while vacationing. A lot of correspondence in the mailbox is junk, but there could be important letters containing sensitive information or expensive packages arriving. Ask your enlisted friends to pick up your mail daily to ensure burglars can’t escape with a quick grab. Mail theft happens more than you think, with approximately 20% of Americans reporting a stolen package in 2021.
3. Request Police Assistance
You might not have trustworthy help if your friends don’t live nearby. Your neighbors could be busy or unable to watch your house during the day and night. One tactic you could try is asking for police assistance.
Contact your local police or sheriff’s office to see if they can send an officer while you’re away. The patrolling officer will ride by in their car to ensure no funny business is occurring on your property. This feature is a beneficial tool to ensure trained professionals are on the scene if something happens.
4. Lock up the Car
If your trip includes you and your family, you’re likely taking one car and leaving other vehicles at home. They’re among the most vulnerable items on your property because they’re easier to break into than a house. Many Americans forget to lock their car doors or leave their windows rolled down, leading to burglary. In the U.S., over 700,000 Americans are victims of car theft annually.
The first step to protecting your car is locking it. Burglars want a quick entry and exit and don’t want to break glass if they don’t have to. Keep personal belongings out of sight. A bag full of valuable items is just what the burglar wants to see in your backseat.
Anti-theft devices, such as alarms, brake locks, steering wheel locks, and more, can be useful. You can put the car in the garage, but vehicles in the driveway may trick a burglar into thinking someone is home.
5. Install Security Devices
Anti-theft devices are practical for your vehicle, so consider the same for your house. Security devices give you peace of mind no matter where you’re traveling. Today’s electronics allow you to check your home from wherever you are. Download the app to your phone to receive notifications when something is happening or if there is movement near the camera. It could be an animal or a thief.
There are other ways to beef up security, such as floodlights that turn on with motion sensors. The last thing a thief wants is to be in the spotlight during a robbery. Bright lights help your security cameras and law enforcement determine who the suspect is.
6. Unplug Electronics and Appliances
Burglary is a common fear for those on a trip, but you should also be vigilant of other problems. For example, a mechanical issue with your appliances could start a fire, and it won’t take long before a giant blaze engulfs the structure. Protect your house from fires by unplugging your electronics and appliances. Start with small devices like lamps and work your way up to larger machines or appliances, such as the oven.
While you’re away, you’ll want to lock your combustible materials away or remove them from the house entirely. You may enjoy your favorite scented candles and incense, but take extra precautions to ensure they’re not in danger. Check your smoke detector’s battery and perform maintenance on your furnace to ensure it’s in tip-top shape.
7. Clean the Gutters
Severe weather can strike at any time. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, and more cause devastating damage, especially to coastal areas. Preparing your home for these disasters is essential if one looms while you’re away. Take steps to protect your home from the elements, such as cleaning the gutters.
Gutters are a critical component of your home. When rain falls, the precipitation flows through these channels and heads to the ground. Your gutters can quickly become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, so take time to clean them before you leave. Full gutters can lead to backflow and water damage inside your home.
8. Review Your Insurance Policies
Before you leave, check the insurance policies for your home, car, and other belongings. You can take all the precautions to protect yourself, but something could still happen because of a burglar, weather, or other events. Ensure your plans are updated and review them to see what they cover. The last thing you want is to come home to missing jewelry and heirlooms that weren’t covered.
Upgrading your policy to cover more items may be worthwhile if you’re concerned. Tell your insurance providers you’ll be gone, especially if the trip lasts two weeks or longer.
Maintaining Peace of Mind
You have enough to worry about when you’re away from home, whether for work, family, or vacation. Thinking about what’s happening at your house can distract you from the time spent away. A burglary or weather event can occur, but there are ways to protect your home. These eight tips maintain your peace of mind while away for any length of time.
Happy Adventuring, friends!
Guest blog post contributed by: Jack Shaw