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INSURING YOUR HOME
Home security tips for the Christmas season
Holidays should be a memorable time, involving family, friends, presents, and overeating – not having your house broken into. Unfortunately, it can be a popular time for burglars to strike, with the Christmas and New Year period usually seeing a spike in property offences around Australia.
Whether you’re heading off or sticking around, be extra vigilant and ensure the silly season doesn’t turn sour.
7 ways to protect your home during the holidays
1. Don’t make it obvious that you’re away
It might not feel like it, but the world keeps turning at home, when you’re sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere (or making small talk at your in-laws). That means your mail is still going to be delivered, the rubbish collector will still come around, and newspapers will still be thrown on your lawn. These can all signal that there’s nobody home.
If you have a trusted neighbour or friend who lives nearby, you could ask them to put your bins out and bring them in, collect your mail, and even do a bit of yard maintenance if you’ll be gone for a while. You can also pause your newspaper or magazine subscriptions and have Australia Post temporarily hold your mail.
2. Let there be light!
One sure-fire way to look like you’re not at home? Keep your home dark and quiet 24/7. Timer lights are a great way to give the appearance of movement for a couple of hours each night. You can buy ones that you can control from your phone anywhere in the world, and set up to turn on and off at certain times.
Motion sensor lights fitted to the outside of your property may also work in warding off thieves that find themselves wandering up your driveway.
3. Be careful with packaging
If you’re lucky enough to have been given some great gifts and you want to keep them, be careful when disposing of the packaging. Putting a giant TV box out on the lawn next to your recycling bin is basically free advertising for would-be thieves. Even hiding smaller packaging for new gadgets and technology inside your wheelie bin can be dangerous.
Try to avoid putting out the obvious rubbish out too early, instead timing it with collection time. Also, shred documents that contain personal information, such as receipts.
4. Be careful on social media
Is there any point planning a holiday if you’re not going to make your friends jealous with a few (hundred) social media posts? The problem is, posting things like airport check-ins, brags about your latest bling, and vacay countdowns can make you a prime target for burglars.
Holiday goers might want to consider keeping off social media, or at least waiting until you’re home to post the happy snaps. If that seems a bit drastic, at least keep your privacy settings on lockdown so only your immediate network can see what you’re up to. Also, make sure you don’t have anyone on your friends list you that you don’t know personally. You may have added a semi-stranger years ago and not thought much of it, so it could be worth doing a festive social media friends cull.
5. What’s in the window?
If you have an easily accessible window, especially one that faces out to the street, having a huge, well-decorated tree on display for all to see might not be the best idea. As festive as it is, it could highlight your house as one to target.
Particularly if you’re going away, make sure you keep things away from obvious sight, or even close the curtains on exposed windows.
6. Don’t use indoor plugs for outdoor Christmas lights
Many people plug their outdoor lights into an indoor power outlet and run the wires under the window. This isn’t the smartest idea. Considering that 30% of break-ins occur through windows, providing a gap for burglars to get through makes your home more vulnerable.
If you don’t have outdoor plug sockets, solar-powered and battery-operated lights can be a great (and more cost-efficient!) alternative.
7. Update your home and contents insurance policy
If you’ve received a particularly hefty holiday haul, the amount you’d need to replace your contents may have increased. If so, you should update your policy with an accurate sum insured (i.e, the maximum amount you’ll be paid if you ever need to make a claim) as soon as possible. With GIO, you can do that easily by logging into Online Services or calling us on 13 10 10.
- How do I compare home and contents insurance?
- Is it covered by Home and Contents Insurance?
- How to insure your portable valuables
Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on