Summer is near, which means that you’re likely dreaming of your next getaway to the nearest beach, mountain, lake, theme park — anywhere but here.
But while you certainly deserve to unwind and forget about life for a while, you should also make sure your house is safe before heading off. After all, there’s nothing worse than needing to file a Georgia home insurance claim for a burglary while you were gone.
With that in mind, here are 7 home security tips to protect your Georgia home while you travel.
1. Keep Valuables Out of Plain View
We all know that we need to hide our valuables to deter car theft, and the same principle applies when you leave your home. Store away your laptops, tablets, and smart devices as well as any jewelry or collectible items.
For very important items like identity documents and sentimental items, consider getting a fireproof safe. Not only will you protect these things from burglars, but you’ll also keep them safe from an unexpected fire or natural disaster.
Finally, move any patio furniture, valuable lawn ornaments, and pool equipment into your home or a secure shed. These portable items are prime targets for thieves. And while your Georgia home insurance will cover them, they may not be valuable enough to make your claim deductible (here’s more on deductibles and other important insurance terms)
2. Lock Your Doors and Windows Before You Leave
Whether you live in a big city or a small, tight-knit town, the best way to keep your Georgia home safe while traveling is to lock your windows and doors.
Of course, we all know to check the obvious places like the front door and kitchen window. But when was the last time you carefully checked all the windows and doors in your house? People leave windows unlocked all the time because sometimes the window is too hard to lock. If you notice that one of your windows is difficult or impossible to lock, try to fix it as soon as possible (preferably well before your trip).
3. Use an Alarm System to Protect Your Home
Unfortunately, even the most well-secured house won’t deter everyone. That’s when an alarm system can keep your Georgia home safe during the holidays and while traveling.
When it comes to home security, an alarm system is the most important protection if someone actually breaks into your house. As soon as they open the door, they’ll realize that they only have seconds to leave the property if they want to avoid getting caught. That might be enough time to grab a few loose items (hence our previous advice about keeping electronics and valuables hidden), but most of your belongings will be untouched.
Many modern alarm systems include apps that allow you to monitor your home from afar. You can even connect to your installed cameras and receive an alert when certain events are triggered, such as your front door opening or a person being seen.
4. Install Motion-Sensor and Timed Lights to Look Like You’re Home
A dark home is a conspicuous target in a neighborhood of occupied houses. Motion-sensor lights allow you to temporarily shine a spotlight on trespassers before they have a chance to get close. Not only will this allow neighbors to better identify faces and license plates, but the sudden light will temporarily dazzle a would-be burglar.
Motion-sensor lights have been around for a long time, and many are now controllable via a smartphone app, allowing you to control the schedule and brightness of the light as well as the sensitivity of the motion sensor. But if you prefer to stick to the basics, you can still find plenty of models that work just fine without an app.
If you use smart lights inside your home, program a few of them to turn on and off during your normal waking hours. That way, it’ll be harder for burglars to tell whether the house is empty.
5. Hold Your Mail and Packages
If you don’t have someone who can check in on your house every day while you’re gone, then consider holding your mail until you get back. Even if you don’t expect to get any important letters, a mailbox stuffed with days-old coupons and flyers is a tempting target for burglars.
Fortunately, the US Postal Service makes it easy to temporarily hold your mail for up to 30 days while you’re gone. If you’ll be traveling for longer, then consider renting a PO box or private mail service where you can forward mail.
6. Ask a Neighbor or Friend to Check on Your Home
If you’re leaving behind a beloved pet or plant, then you’ve probably already arranged for someone to look in on them while you’re away. Ask if they could do a quick walk around the house each visit to check for broken lights or windows as well as for any signs of a break-in. They should also look out for visible household problems like pests and water that could lead to mold in the house.
7. Check Your Home Insurance Coverage to Ensure You’re Protected
The good news is that taking all of the steps above will help you minimize the chances of a burglary. The bad news is that those chances will never be zero. And should you ever have to live through the trauma of a major burglary, you’ll want to make sure your Georgia home insurance is there to protect you when you make a claim.
Keep in mind that protecting your home with insurance only works if you have the right coverage and if you pay your premium on time.
Having the right coverage means getting a policy that will reimburse you for the true value of your possessions. Special items like electronics, expensive jewelry, collectibles, and other valuable items are usually covered separately. Talk to your insurance agent if you need financial protection for these items.
Once you know you have the right coverage, it’s also important to pay your premium on time. If you don’t, then the insurance company won’t cover you until you’re current on your balance. Remember that home insurance in Georgia doesn’t work retroactively—once a burglary happens, it’s too late to get a policy to cover it.
Affordable Home Insurance for Travelers is a Must in Georgia
It’s impossible to prepare for every potential danger and risk while you’re away from your home. Home insurance is there to help you when the most unexpected event happens to you. All it takes is a few minutes for an online quote for cheap Georgia homeowners insurance. Or you can visit one of our offices in person or give us a call at 855-468-3569.