June 13, 2019 — Headed out on vacation soon? AAA Oklahoma offers travelers peace of mind with tips to keep your home safe while you’re away. July and August have the highest rates of residential burglaries.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, burglars target empty homes and may be watching for signs of residents packing up and leaving for extended periods.
“Before you head out for vacation, take a few moments to safeguard your home and keep your possessions safe,” says Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. “Spend at least as much time focusing on protecting the home you’ll return to as you do packing your suitcase.”
Tips to protect your home while you’re away:
• Create or update a home inventory. In the event that you do need to file a claim, preparing a home inventory of your possessions beforehand will make the process easier. Grab your smartphone, camera, or pen and paper and take a tour of your home. Record everything you’d want replaced. Collect and note model and serial numbers for items of value along with copies of sales receipts. Store it in a safe place – online or in a safe deposit box.
• Check your insurance policy and call your agent to ensure that you have the coverage you need in case you experience theft or damage to your property.
• Make it time-consuming to break into your home. Research suggests that if burglars think it will take more than four or five minutes to break into a home, they will move on. Check outside doors and frames to ensure they are strong and made of metal or thick hardwood. Use dead-bolts on windows and doors, which can slow burglars down or deter them entirely.
• Invest in an effective burglar alarm that, when triggered, alerts the police, fire department and other emergency services. Check with your insurance agent about possible alarm system discounts.
• Disconnect computers and other electronic devices from the internet to prevent hackers from gaining access to your information. Make sure personal information on your computer is difficult to access.
• Keep valuables locked up and out of sight. Expensive jewelry, electronic devices and other high value items should be hidden from plain view and placed in lock boxes.
• Make your home look inhabited. Use timers to turn lights on and off, temporarily stop newspaper deliveries, and arrange to have your mail picked up or held by the post office. An unkempt lawn is also an indicator to burglars that you are away. Hire a lawn service to maintain your yard if you will be gone for an extended period of time.
• Ask a dependable neighbor, friend or family member to keep an eye on your home while you’re away.
• Although vacations are exciting, try not to post about them on social media; someone may see your posts and target your home while you’re away. Avoid discussing your vacation plans in public places such as at the grocery store or at your local café.
To find out more about homeowners or renters insurance, call AAA insurance at 800-786-8322 or visit aaa.com/insurance to see what discounts you may be eligible for and what type of coverage you might need.