Although it’s comforting to know that your insurance agents are there and ready to help if something goes wrong, nobody wants to have to file an insurance claim.
Prevention is the key to avoiding most home insurance claims. Of course, you can’t control everything that happens in life, but when it comes to protecting your home from burglary, there are actually many relatively simple preventative steps that you can take.
The first, and perhaps most obvious step is to invest in security features such as a reliable alarm, deadbolt locks, window locks, and outdoor lighting with motion-sensors. Be sure to let your insurance company know if you do install any of these items, because it can mean lower premiums on your homeowners insurance.
But there are plenty of other things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a burglary. Don’t leave ladders anywhere that might be accessible to potential intruders. Secure sliding doors and windows. Always lock both your front and back doors anytime you go outside, and keep your garage doors closed. Don’t leave windows open when you’re away. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and if you purchase new appliances or electronics, don’t put the box out by the curb where everyone can see what shiny new item you have inside.
Take safety into consideration in your landscaping plans, as well. Make sure any bushes or shrubs near windows aren’t providing a convenient hiding spot for intruders. Trim back any tree branches that could provide access to upper-story windows. Keep in mind that any overgrown trees or shrubbery in the yard can create concealing shadows.
It’s common for homeowners to leave a spare key hidden somewhere outside in case they are locked out. But burglars will check in the more obvious places, and even if you’re a savvy key hider, it’s still possible that someone might figure out your hiding spot. Instead, give a spare key to a friend or a neighbor you trust. Speaking of neighbors, it’s worth getting to know yours. Neighbors who know each other are better able to identify strangers and more likely to look out for each others’ property and safety.
Mostly, burglars just want to get in, take your stuff, and get out. That’s why burglaries tend to occur during the day when people are at work. If you can create an illusion that someone is home, they won’t want to take the chance. Interior lights with timers can give the appearance that the home is occupied, but make sure you have window coverings to prevent anyone from seeing clearly inside.
If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time, then you’ll need to prepare in advance. Before going out of town, make arrangements to ensure that the lawn gets mowed or the sidewalk gets shoveled. Put a hold on mail and newspapers so they won’t pile up outside your home. Neighbors can collect any packages that are delivered, or even park their car in your driveway. You can also contact the police and notify them of the dates you will be away.
Burglary results not only in the loss of your belongings but also your peace of mind. So it’s well worth the investment of time and money to do everything you can to prevent it from happening in the first place.