Each year more than 100 million Americans travel for the year-end holidays. Moreover, insurance claims peak toward the end of the year, mostly due to holiday travels and all of the valuable gifts left behind at home. By following these mischief-deferring tips, you can protect yourself and your belongings this holiday season.
- Lock it up. In other words, hide the bundle of toys. Does anything compare to the magical excitement of waking up to the calm majesty of Christmas morning to open presents? Lots of you will likely be engaging in this festive frenzy before hopping in the car to visit your extended family and friends. But before leaving, if your family is anything like mine, there is a time-honored tradition of placing the opened gifts back under the tree, crafting a holiday shrine of generosity and happy memories. While this ritual is inexplicably satisfying, it’s best to place your gifts, treasure, and holiday cash out of sight. A safer place is in your car’s trunk, or a lockbox, or a hidden secure place inside your home. As far as intruders and burglars are concerned, let them believe the Grinch stole Christmas before they have the chance to.
- Install deadbolts. These handy, inexpensive locks will complement the other locks on your doors, and have an added layer of security due to the design and locking mechanism. Without the correct key, opening the door will be tougher, creating a stronger resistance to intruders. Today, deadbolts can be mechanical or digital, but both traditional and smart deadbolts will do the trick when it comes to an extra layer of protection.
- Reinforce sliding doors. By measuring the space of the track, you can easily cut down a metal or wooden rod to brace the door, so that your sliding door is extra secure in case the lock is compromised.
- Sign for all deliveries. It’s the most wonderful time of the year – until your packages get stolen. Packages that are left on your doorstep can invite theft. But, you can take simple precautions to minimize this. FedEx and USPS will allow you to set times for delivery for a time when you know you will be home. And UPS suggests signing up for a service called “UPS My Choice,” which allows you to request your packages to be held at a UPS store for pick-up and more. If you are unable to be home to accept deliveries, make alternate pick-up arrangements. Tracking numbers are key. If you have to have the package delivered while you are gone, keep track of when it arrives and have a trusted neighbor bring it to their home. You can also ship your packages to a neighbor who will be home, or direct that the packages be sent to your local Post Office until a certain date for pick up. Finally, always require a signature for delivery no matter which option you select for package delivery.
- Keep doors locked. Fortify your winter wonderland by double-checking that all the doors and windows are locked, including the door to the garage. Many thieves use universal garage door openers to gain access into empty homes, so it’s best to keep valuables out of the garage area. The peace of mind that comes with having an alarm system is worth the investment. Especially now, there are several affordable smart technology solutions such as Frontpoint and LiveWatch. Or you can check out higher-end systems like Abode Home Security Starter Kit. In most cases, in addition to the set-up fee, you will have a low-cost monthly fee for any home security system. It’s a good investment for such a huge return of security.
- Use timers. Anytime you leave your house for an extended period of time, it’s wise to “keep up appearances” so to speak, and that means leaving the lights on as if you never left. Simply selecting a few random lights to keep on while you are away will work, but to be convincing, we recommend using automatic light timers. In addition, if your family uses the Nest home security system, you can easily connect TP-Link’s Kasa products, which are a system of smart plugs, switches, and light bulbs that can be controlled from your Nest app. Kasa works with Nest’s “Home” and “Away” settings to make it seem like you’re home by randomly turning on things like speakers, lights, and TVs. And they can turn on a device to make it look like someone’s home when Nest Cam detects a person. So, no matter your budget, or comfort level with technology, there is a solution for everyone.
- Block prying eyes. Simple enough, close your blinds and curtains while you are away. In addition, you’ll want to take extra measures to make sure there are no boxes or packages of high-priced items like computers or TVs in your trash or on the curb for everyone to see. This also goes for the evidence of shopping bags, receipts, packages, and gift-wrapping. These should also be put away and out of sight!
These burglar-busting guidelines will help you keep your home and it’s holiday contents safe this season and beyond. And remember, when it comes to social media, mums the word! It’s been reported that four out of five burglars used social media last year to find out when people were not home. So keep these details under wraps, so that you can enjoy unwrapping your gifts, and focus on all the holiday magic this year.
For informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. American Modern is a registered trademark of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc. The products and company names described herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. American Moderns use of them does not imply affiliation with or sponsorship or endorsement by them.