Here are some suggestions on how to keep your belongings safe while you are away:
- Ask someone to come over and check on your home for any issues – water, sewer, electrical, natural gas, etc. and contact you in case of an emergency.
- Turn your home’s water supply off. Most home insurance policies do not cover loss caused by leaking or frozen pipes while your house is unoccupied for more than four consecutive days, unless you have taken reasonable care to maintain heat in the building and arranged for someone to check on your home daily or you have shut off your water supply and drained your pipes.
- Unplug your electronics to protect them against power surges.
- Ask someone to change the position of your blinds and/or curtains. Leaving them open or partially open allows police, friends and neighbours to look into your home.
- Put your lights on a timer and program them to come on at different times and in various areas of your home. Don’t leave them on all night.
- Lock your doors and windows (on your house, garage and shed) and remember to remove all outside keys that are hidden for an emergency. Place a piece of wood in the sliding window or patio door tracks for extra security.
- Turn your volume down on your telephone and leave a generic message on your answering machine – never say that you are away.
- Don’t post your whereabouts and vacation plans on social media.
- Ask a neighbour to park on your driveway so it looks like someone is home, and keep your walkway and driveway clear of snow.
- Use Canada Post’s Hold Mail service or have someone collect your mail daily.
- Cancel other home deliveries such as daily or weekly newspapers.
- Make a list of the valuables in your home. You could even take photos.
- If you have a security system, alert your alarm company when you will be away. Alert your neighbourhood watch program if you have one in your area.
Once you have gone through the above list then “case” your home like a burglar would. Check your property for any weaknesses and find ways to obstruct the view of expensive electronic equipment, paintings and anything else that can be tempting to others.
If you notice signs of forced entry when you return home, do not go inside; call the police from a neighbour’s home.