Keeping your home secure while on holiday
Holidays should be a time for rest and relaxation and not for worrying if your property has been damaged or broken into. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to keep your home as secure as possible while you’re away.
Inform your family, friends and neighbours
Ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your property while you’re away and create the impression the house is occupied. They can do this by:
- picking up any deliveries you may have forgotten to cancel
- putting rubbish bins out for collection on the appropriate day
- making sure grass is kept cut
For added security, consider asking a neighbour to park their car in front of your house or in your driveway to further deter burglars.
Cancel all deliveries
Deliveries piling up at your front door are a clear sign to would-be intruders that your house is unoccupied. Make sure to cancel the delivery of items such as milk and newspapers and have the post office hold your mail until you return. Mail can be held for up to two months using the Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service and if you’re going to be away for longer than that, you can have your mail redirected to your holiday address.
If you’re taking an extended trip, check how long your home insurance policy will cover your property for while it’s left unoccupied. Policies from Sainsbury’s Bank will provide cover for up to 60 days.
If you don't have someone who can regularly check in on your house during your holiday, security timer switches can come in very handy.
These usually work as a plug socket adapter with a built in timer which will run as long as the adapter is plugged in and the socket is turned on. Not only can these be used to make sure your lights come on at night, they can also be used with other devices such as stereos and TVs, giving the appearance that someone is in the house.
To complement the timer switches, you could also invest in a remote phone switcher which allows you to dial into the home phone and instruct the unit to turn on any devices plugged into it. These are available from most high street technology retailers as well as online.
If you’re leaving your home during the winter months it’s also worth setting your central heating to come on for an hour a day to keep the house warm and help reduce the risk of burst pipes.
As your holiday draws near and you’re in the midst of preparing to leave, it can be easy to forget the simple, everyday precautions you need to take to keep your home secure. Before leaving on your trip, double check the following:
- all windows and doors are locked securely, including those for garages, sheds and any other outbuildings
- timers on lights and any other devices are set and switched on, as are any alarms
- garden furniture is stored and locked away
- areas around windows and doors are clear of any valuables and no expensive items are left in plain sight
- family and friends know how long you’ll be away and have a contact address and phone number to reach you in the case of an emergency
For a more comprehensive look at home security, you can check out our home security guide.More tools & guides