Holiday security tips

To help you have a relaxing break, we’ve put together some of our best tips, so you needn’t worry about what’s going on at home.

  1. Lock up and leave – locks on your doors and windows only work if you use them. While burglars may be able to get into a house with deadbolt locks, they’ll find it harder to leave with all your stuff and will want to get out of there pretty quickly, especially if the alarm is sounding. So, remember to set your alarm too.
  2. It’s a great idea to lock away your valuables, as well as having someone to stay, who you know and trust, and who can help with more than just security - a great way to keep your home and its contents safe is to ask someone to housesit. There’s nothing better than a car in the driveway, lights on at night, and someone to collect your mail to deter a potential burglar. The added bonus? A house sitter can also feed and look after your pets and plants too.
  3. No house sitter? If you’re unable to arrange one or would rather not have someone stay in your house, ask a neighbour or friend to help. They could collect your mail, mow the lawn, put some washing on the line, take out and retrieve your recycling bin, park in your driveway, and open and close the curtains - or at least some of these. Alternatively, have NZ Post hold your mail, put a no junk sticker on the letterbox, leave shoes at the front door and washing on the line, hire someone to regularly mow the lawns, and install timers on your lights so the house looks occupied in the evenings.Another simple step to take before you leave is to turn the ring volume down on your landline phone so it can’t be heard ringing and going unanswered. And don’t leave a dish cloth on the bench; it dries out and tells a potential thief that the house has been empty for a while.
  4. Electrics and water – it’s a good idea to turn things off before you leave like any unnecessary electrical appliances such as the TV. Don’t forget the water too - turn it off at the mains and turn off your hot water cylinder. Not only could it save you from disaster if there’s a power surge, or a leak, but you’ll also save pennies from not having to pay for anything you’re not using, like hot water. Be careful not to turn off appliances like the fridge or freezer though, you don’t want to come home to a fridge full of spoiled food.
  5. Remove valuables from accessible pockets – you may be travelling far from home, or just down the road, but it pays to remove valuables, like your wallet, laptop or mobile phone from the front pocket of your back pack. Instead keep them where you have most control over them, such as the front or side pocket of your clothing, or the large internal pocket of your bag. That way they’re harder for thieves to see and access.
  6. Before you leave for your holiday, make sure you’ve checked your home and contents insurance is up to date. That way, if something unexpected happens, like damage caused by wild weather, you’ll know you’re covered. It’s also a good reminder to check whether you need to take out travel insurance, because your contents insurance may not cover your belongings overseas.
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