While you’re working abroad for an extended period, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether your home is safe in your absence. Protecting your home is about more than just locking all the doors and windows and leaving a key with a neighbour so that they can pop in from time to time. Here are some top home security tips to give you some peace of mind while you’re away.
Time switches automatically turn on lamps for you so that it looks as though your home is occupied. A house that’s always dark is a dead giveaway to intruders that there’s nobody home, so setting up time switches to reflect your usual movements at home is a great first step. Set them to come on downstairs as it gets dark, and then upstairs later in the evening, mimicking you going up to bed. You could also put your television or radio on a time switch so that there’s some noise coming from your house at the times there would be when you’re home.
The downside to timeswitches is that most turn the lights on at the same precise times you’ve programmed each day. This means that a potential intruder could watch your home and work out from the regularity that there’s nobody home. Luckily, smart home technology means you can now control your lights from your smartphone via hubs such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Hive. This means you can manage your home lighting remotely while you’re away, switching the lights on at different times of day.
While full-blown CCTV might be on the pricey side for a private property, you can achieve much the same result by setting up internet-connected webcams around your property. This allows you to log in remotely at any time so that you can keep an eye on your home, wherever you are, and some have recording facilities too. Making sure they’re set up somewhere visible should also act as a deterrent.
A build-up of post by your front door is another telltale sign that there’s nobody at home. Unless you’re likely to receive anything important in the post that you want a neighbour to keep an eye out for, the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service is worth setting up. This pauses your post being delivered, keeping it safe until you return. Don’t forget to cancel other regular deliveries, such as newspapers and milk.
Turn off unnecessary appliances
Intruders aren’t the only risk to your property when you’re leaving it unoccupied; gas leaks and electrical fires are also potential hazards. Be sure to switch off unnecessary appliances rather than leaving them on standby, such as your gas cooker and hob, desktop computer and so on. You’ll save money on your utility bills, too.
Tell your insurer
Finally, home insurance policies cover you for being away from your home for holidays, but not if you’re leaving your house unoccupied for a substantial amount of time – usually 30 consecutive days or more. If you’re going to be away for 30 days or more, let your insurer know so that they can adjust your policy accordingly. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like a quote for unoccupied property insurance.