Break-ins are one of the highest reported crimes in Canada. According to the Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics, every year in Canada the average is one break-in every three minutes. And that’s considering a considerable decline in break-ins (43 per cent) over the last 10 years.
So what’s your plan for ensuring your home is protected while you’re lounging in a hammock at the cottage or stopping for gas on that summer road trip?
Poll Finds Vacationers Are Not Prepared
A new survey by TD Insurance shows Canadians may not be up to snuff when it comes to home security. It’s time to debunk some of the myths and look at some ways to divert unwanted attention and protect your home from theft while on vacation.
Up Your Alarm Ante
One in five homeowners think an alarm system is sufficient to protect their house from burglars.Think again – although alarms are a good first line of defense, there are other ways to bolster security and decrease insurance premiums while you’re at it.
- Make sure your doors and windows are locked. It may seem simple enough, but one forgotten lock or open window can be an open invitation to burglars.
- “Beware of dog” signs and motion sensor lights can help stop thieves in their tracks.
- Hiding keys in obvious places (yup – those fake stones are obvious) can also make it easier to break into your home.
- Put secondary locks on windows and ensure your doors are made of strong, solid material and equipped with sturdy locks.
- Place metals bars on low-lying windows and block in sliding doors with a stick or metal bar.
- Use a light and/or stereo on a timer to make it look like someone’s home.
Identify The Hot Spots
According to the survey, 78 per cent of Canadians don’t consider their full mailbox an indicator they might be on vacation, while 89 per cent don’t consider their empty driveway to be a sign.
But, if your mailbox is overflowing with mail, the subscriptions are piling up and the driveway is empty for weeks – it doesn’t take a master thief to figure it out.
- Put your magazine subscriptions on hold while you’re away or have a neighbor collect your mail.
- Tuck away valuables in a safe or deposit box. Shield computers and electronics from view of the windows.
- Do not hang your name on the outside of your house. A thief could look up your number and call to see if you’re home.
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, leave a bag of their garbage out front of your house on collection day and cut your grass if you’re going to be gone for awhile.
- Do not change your phone message or leave a note that you’re away.
Insurance Break-In Woes
Nearly one third of homeowners think that if their home is robbed, their insurer will reimburse them for the stolen goods at today’s prices. Truth is, basic home insurance policy generally only covers actual cash value, taking depreciation over time into account.
Give your policy a good looksee to make sure you’re covered while you’re away, and ensure your contents, tenant or home insurance is up to speed.