If you are planning on visiting family or friends in the UK, or are jetting off for a winter getaway abroad, it’s important to make sure your home is safe and secure before you set off.
Here are our top ten tips to protecting your home while you are away over winter:
- You don’t want to broadcast the fact that you’re away, so make sure you cancel any regulars like milk, newspapers or vegetable box deliveries. Leave a key with a trusted neighbour and ask if they can gather up your post from the mat.
- If you have a burglar alarm make sure it’s set, and that the alarm company is aware that you’re going on holiday. In most cases, alarm systems can take two or more pass codes, so if you have a friend or relative who will be keeping an eye on your home set up an additional code for them.
- Ask your neighbour or friend if they can do a quick check of the house regularly to ensure that everything is fine. Make sure they know where the stopcock is, as unfortunately burst pipes can be all too common in wintertime.
- Set your heating to come on for at least a couple of hours a day whilst you are away. The Met Office recommends you leave the heating for longer on if severe weather is forecast.
- Unplug all non-essential sockets to lower energy costs and reduce the risk of fire. Double check these are switched off just before you leave – you don’t want to spend your break worrying about whether you’ve left the iron on or not.
- Switch off electric garage doors so they can’t be opened with a universal remote, and ask a neighbour if they will park on your driveway so it appears that someone’s home.
- Install timers for lights or set-up your Google Home Hub or Amazon Echo to switch them on automatically. Set them to come on late afternoon, and make sure different lights come on at different times to give the impression that the house is occupied. Don’t leave all the curtains closed, as this can be a clue that the house is empty.
- Leaving a radio on tuned to a ‘talk station’ like Radio 4 can create the impression that someone is home. Turn the volume up reasonably loud, and place it in living areas rather than upstairs.
- Check your door and window locks meet the requirements stipulated in your insurance policy documents, and that all doors and windows are locked securely before you leave.
- Finally, don’t tell everyone that you’re on holiday via your social media accounts. It might be tempting to share what a good time you’re having, but wait until you get back home before you post your holiday photos.