Summer is all about making the most of the good weather, enjoying your garden and escaping on holiday, unfortunately it’s also a peak time for burglaries. Opportunistic thieves take advantage of open windows and can spot the tell-tale signs of an absent house, so follow these top tips from our home insurance provider, RSA to keep your home secure.
Home safety tips
1. Avoid leaving downstairs windows open after you go to bed or even if you're not in the room for a significant period of time, as according to The Home Office three-fifths of home burglaries take place during the evening or night between 6pm and 6am*.
2. These days, it’s easy for social media-savvy thieves to do their research online. It doesn’t take long to work out if a homeowner is away by checking up on social media sites - often rife with envy-inducing holiday snaps and updates. Make sure your social media settings are listed as private and can only be viewed by friends or people you trust, as ‘checking in’ or broadcasting your holiday photos and updates on public sites can be risky.
3. Never leave valuables like laptops, tablets, handbags or wallets within reach of open windows, cat flaps or letterboxes, as it only takes seconds for a burglar to reach in and grab something.
4. If you’re off on holiday, leave a set of keys with someone you trust so they can keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Always avoid leaving any spares in obvious hiding places around your house and garden; thieves know where to look.
5. Ask a friend or neighbour to remove post from your letterbox or front porch regularly, as a growing pile of letters and packages is a clear indicator that a homeowner is absent. Alternatively, you can use the Royal Mail’s keepsafe service, which holds on to your letters for up to 66 days.
6. It may sound obvious, but if you’re out enjoying the garden, make sure your front door is locked and any accessible windows are secure. Opportunists only need a minute to do their dirty work.
7. Always pack away tools after a day tending to your garden or doing some DIY and make sure they’re locked away and out of reach. Easy-to-grab tools are exactly the sort of things burglars look for to gain entry to a property. Plus, make sure you have a strong padlock on your shed if this is where you keep your tools and other expensive garden equipment such as lawnmowers and portable barbecues.
Guard your garden
8. Whilst you're away on holiday, keep a few lights on in the evenings using timer switches, but avoid pulling all your curtains or blinds before you’re heading off for a trip, as this can indicate no-one is home – especially in summer when the days are longer. Also think about installing outdoor security lighting to discourage thieves from entering your garden.
9. Install a home alarm, so that if the worst happens and there is a break in, you can be alerted quickly and you or your neighbours can contact the police. You could even think about security cameras and small CCTV systems.
10. Keep garden gates locked and fences in good condition. Trellis at the top of fencing can also be a deterrent as it makes fences higher to scale and will likely break when they're climbed on so thieves could leave behind helpful traces without meaning to. Prickly plants such as a blackthorn trees and spiky succulents can also put people off trying to break in around fences and other entry areas.
11. Remove items that can be climbed on in order to reach open windows or the tops of fences such as wheelie bins and large pots.
12. Bikes can be a popular item for thieves to steal as they're valuable, usually quite light and are easy to sell on. Make sure that your bikes are either locked inside the house, a shed or anchored into the ground to put off potential robberies.
13. Lastly make sure you have contents insurance in place, so that you’re protected should you find yourself a victim of summer burglary. Remember to take photographs of your belongings just in case your insurer wants to see proof of ownership and it can be a good idea to do a garden inventory just as you would your home. We're proud to partner with RSA and offer their Take Your Pick home insurance that creates a policy as individual as you are. If you are a qualifying member** of our loyalty programme, Member Rewards, you will receive £25 cashback on your new home insurance policy and any new policies that are taken out from our branches or contact centre between 20th May and 14th July 2019 will be entered into a prize draw to win £100***.
*The Office of National Statistics Overview of Burglary and Other Household Theft
**To qualify for cashback you need to have a savings balance of at least £500 and have either held one of our savings accounts for at least the last 12 months or currently have a Nottingham Building Society mortgage - for full terms and conditions visit thenottingham.com/member-reward-terms-and-conditions.
Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc underwrite and administer Nottingham Building Society Take Your Pick home insurance and are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority; registered No. 202323. St Mark’s Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1XL.Registered in England and Wales No. 93792.
***To be eligible for entry into the £100 prize draw you must be a resident in the UK and have purchased a new combined buildings and contents or a standalone buildings or contents insurance policy between 20/05/19 and 14/07/19. You will be entered into the prize draw for the branch location in which the policy was purchased, any policy purchased via thenottingham.com or contact centre will be entered into a prize draw for sales purchased from our contact centre. One entry per household. Full terms and conditions are available here.