Direct Line magazine

Securing your home while you’re away

Updated on: 8 February 2024

A smart security camera is controlled by a smartphone app.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a long trip abroad or a couple of days travelling in the UK – your home is vulnerable to thieves when you're away.

Thankfully, there are some measures you can take to help give you peace of mind, including improving home security and taking out home insurance.

Here’s our advice on how to keep your home safe and secure.

Everyday security

Some home insurance policies may require that your house has certain levels of security (for example, having adequate locks on all your doors and windows).

Here are some other basic security tips we’d recommend:

  • Locking all doors and windows whenever you leave your home.
  • Installing a burglar alarm and setting it every time you go out.
  • Installing security lights that trigger when someone comes near the house.
  • Leaving lights on in a hallway or landing to make it seem like someone’s in.
  • Keeping tools like ladders locked up to avoid helping thieves break in.
  • Keeping anything people could climb on, such as large bins, hidden and away from the front of your house.
  • Keeping valuables such as computers, TVs, tablets, and mobiles out of sight through windows.
  • Consider investing in a front door camera.  

Extra precautions while you're away

There are extra measures you can take whenever you're away for longer. These include:

  • Installing timer switches to lights so they come on at the same time each night (or using smart bulbs to control your lighting through your phone).
  • Installing timer switches to a radio to make it sound like someone is in.
  • Making sure all your window locks are up to scratch, and closing curtains so that thieves can’t see inside the house.
  • Cancelling regular deliveries, such as milk or newspapers, so nothing piles up on your doorstep.
  • Arranging for your mail to be delivered later or even directed to your holiday destination.
  • Cutting the lawn before you go away, so it appears as if someone is still there.
  • Getting a neighbour or friend to watch your home while you are away.
  • Arranging for a neighbour to park a car in the driveway.

If you’re travelling with luggage, another tip is to avoid writing your name and address on any visible luggage labels.

Staying insured

Should someone break into your home while you're away, you can get some peace of mind by having home insurance. Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – including outbuildings and permanent fittings – against damage by incidents such as fire, flood, or theft. Contents insurance protects the actual items inside your home – including carpets, furniture, and electrical goods – in case of similar incidents.

Before going away, it's well worth reminding yourself of the terms and conditions of your policy. For example, some exclusions might apply if the property has been unoccupied for 60 consecutive days – so it's worth checking with your insurer if you plan to leave the house for a long period of time.

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