Direct Line magazine

Securing your home while you’re away

Updated on: 13 May 2020

A smart security camera is controlled by a smartphone app.

Your home is especially vulnerable to thieves when you are away. However there are some measures you can take to help give you peace of mind, including improving home security and taking out adequate home insurance to cover for any claims should anything happen while you’re away.

Everyday security

Your home and its contents are valuable to you, so you want to make sure that you look after them as well as you can. A Direct Line home insurance policy may require that your home adheres to certain levels of security – for example you must have adequate locks on doors and windows. Some other basic security tips include:

  • Lock all doors and windows whenever you leave your home.

  • Install a burglar alarm and set it when you go out.

  • Install security lighting that triggers when someone comes near the house.

  • Leave lights on in a hallway or landing to look like someone is in.

  • Keep tools like ladders locked up to avoid helping thieves break in.

  • Keep valuables – computers and TVs for example – out of sight through windows.

Extra precautions while away

However, there are extra measures that you can and should take whenever you are away from your home, but especially when you are gone for a prolonged length of time – on holiday for example. Extra precautions include:

  • Install timer switches to lights so that they come on at the same time each night.

  • Install timer switches to a radio to make it appear that someone is in.

  • Close curtains so that thieves can’t see in.

  • Cancel regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers so that it doesn’t pile up on our doorstep.

  • Arrange for your mail to be delivered later or even directed to your holiday destination.

  • Cut the lawn so it appears as if someone is still there.

  • Avoid writing your name and address on visible luggage labels.

  • Get a neighbour or friend to watch your home while you are away.

  • Arrange for a neighbour to park a car in the driveway.

  • Avoid discussing holiday plans with strangers who may use or pass the information on.

  • Make sure window locks are really up to scratch – government statistics also show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows.

  • Where possible lock valuables up – in a safe if you have one – or put smaller items such as jewellery and important documents in a bank deposit box.

Staying insured

In case the worst should happen and someone does break into your home, you can get some peace of mind with home insurance. Direct Line provide two types of home cover – buildings insurance and home contents cover. For more details of these you can view our home insurance policy documents online. Essentially buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – including outbuildings and permanent fittings – against damage by incidents such as fire, flood or theft. Home contents protects the contents of your home – including carpets, furniture and electrical goods – in case of similar incidents.

If you are going away you need to make sure that you remain within the terms and conditions of your home insurance to keep it valid. After your property has been unoccupied for 60 consecutive days, exclusions will apply. If it is likely that your home will be unoccupied for this length of time, please call us.

We also provide insurance for second homes. Please call us on 0345 246 3564 if you would like a home insurance quote for your second home. Remember, if you have a second home, it’s likely that you will be away for even longer periods of time, so adequate home security is even more important. Of course, if you’re going away, you could also benefit from our travel insurance available as a single trip, annual travel insurance policy or 3-month plus trips abroad.

Further reading

https://www.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/

https://www.aspokesmansaid.com/money-and-insurance/guides/content-11256/insuring-your-home-when-it-s-empty---what-you-need-to-know

https://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/consumer-advice/consumer-rights/how-to-keep-your-home-safe-while-you-are-away

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