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How do I keep my home and pet(s) safe while away?

Sadly, burglaries happen while we’re on away on holiday or business or other reasons. Here are some simple steps to ensure your home is safer while you and your family are away.

Be cautious of whom you tell about your intended absence.

You may let a trusted neighbour know where you are going and when you’ll be back, but be wary of telling others. An innocent comment or post on a social networking site could lead to problems. Don’t risk it. Many homeowners hire house sitters nowadays. This is probably the best way to ensure your home continues to appear lived-in while you’re gone. Your pet(s) can also remain in their usual home environment and rather than be traumatised by kennelling.

House and Home Sitters Ltd provide your ideal solution throughout the UK (excluding only Northern Ireland) to caring for your home and pet(s).

Check you’re fully covered

Household contents insurance protects your belongings against theft, fire, flood and damage. However, many policies will not cover you if you’re away for longer than 30 days. Check your policy and if necessary buy additional cover.

Make sure everything is locked and secured before heading off.

If you do not have dead bolt locks, have these professionally installed. Make sure your home security system is in proper working order. Double-check garden sheds, basement, windows, garage doors, and any vulnerable entry points a burglar may target to break into your home. Just as you don’t want to return to a burst water or gas pipe, you don’t want to discover you’ve been burgled. Check and ensure you’ve locked all doors and windows (including garages and sheds) before you leave. And if you’ve fed a cable through a window for outdoor lights, make sure the window can’t be pried open – or, preferably, use battery or solar powered lights instead. Keep keys out of sight and reach of any windows or your letterbox, and leave a spare set with a neighbour, friend or house sitter so that someone will still be able to get into your home in an emergency. A word of warning, here, though: insurance companies will only pay a burglary claim if there has been forced entry to your property. If burglars get hold of any spare keys and simply let themselves in, this could result in your claim being rejected. Finally, if you have a burglar alarm, remember to set it before you leave.

Invest in good quality light and appliance timers.

Set up a timer to switch on lights, TVs and radios. You can get the same system for curtains. This may mask that there isn’t anyone home. Adjust the timer’s settings according to your usual routine. Ask someone to water your plants and keep the lawn mowed. Objective: your home to appear as if you’re still there.

Have the post office hold your mail till your return.

Or ask a trusted neighbour to collect your mail and newspapers. Just a few newspapers in your driveway may be an invitation to burglary. If someone is collecting them for you, ask them to store them for you at their home until you return rather than post and newspapers piling up at your front door.

Keep valuables such as jewellery and important documents in a bank safety deposit box.

Perhaps use a video camera or your smart phone to keep a diary of all of your valuables. Keep the serial numbers of electronics and other appliances; this may prove useful in getting your property back if stolen.

Turn your telephone ringer off while you’re away and don’t refer to your trip on your answering machine.

If you are able to access your messages remotely, know how to use this feature. You may also be able to forward your home ‘phone messages to your mobile ‘phone.

Let your home security company know you will be away.

Check the security company has your mobile number. They will then know how to reach you should a problem arise. You should also ask your local police station to monitor your home during your intended absence.

Avoid your holiday or business trip being cut short by burglary or other mishaps.
Using these tips you can relax with peace of mind your home and belongings are safe.

  • More so if you call in the trusted professionals, House and Home Sitters Ltd to take care of your home and pets while you’re away.
  • Request a quote today. Over a two week period the total cost should not exceed your insurance excess (or first amount payable) in the event of a claim. Makes sense, doesn’t it? www.houseandhomesitters.co.uk/rates