As summer approaches, many of us look forward to taking vacations and enjoying time away from home. However, it’s essential to ensure your property remains secure while you’re gone. At Choice Insurance Agency, we believe that understanding and mitigating risks is a crucial part of safeguarding your home. From evaluating your insurance policies to installing advanced security systems, taking proactive steps can help prevent potential issues and provide peace of mind. In this article, we’ll explore various strategies to keep your property safe during your summer vacation.

Travel planning items on a table: vintage camera, straw hat, calendar, sneakers, postcard of a beach, wallet, sunglasses, toy airplane, and headphones.

Vacation Planning: Preparing Your Home for Your Absence

When planning a vacation, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of travel plans and destinations. However, preparing your home for your absence is equally important. One of the first steps is to review and update your insurance policies to ensure they provide adequate coverage. It’s also a good idea to arrange for a house sitter or ask a trusted friend to check on your property regularly. Additionally, securing valuable items and setting timers for lights and electronics can create the appearance that someone is home. These measures not only protect your belongings but also deter potential burglars, making your home a less attractive target.

Check Your Insurance Policies

Before you head out on vacation, take the time to review your homeowners insurance policy. Ensure it covers common risks associated with an unoccupied home, such as theft, vandalism, and damage from natural disasters. If your current policy does not provide adequate protection, consider purchasing temporary coverage for the period of time you will be away. This can provide peace of mind knowing that your home is safeguarded against potential burglars and other threats. Additionally, inform your insurance company of your travel plans, as some policies require notification for extended absences to remain valid.

Arrange for House Sitting

One effective way to maintain the appearance of activity at your home while you are away is to arrange for a house sitter. A house sitter can help deter potential burglars by regularly checking on the property, bringing in mail, and keeping the garden maintained. If a full-time house sitter is not an option, consider asking a trusted neighbor or friend to stop by periodically. This not only helps keep your home secure but also ensures that any potential issues, such as water leaks or power outages, are addressed promptly. A house sitter can also take care of lawn care and pet care, further ensuring your home appears lived-in and well-maintained.

Consider Timers for Lights and Electronics

Securing valuable items before you leave is essential to prevent loss in case of a break-in. Store high-value belongings like jewelry, important documents, and sentimental items in a safe or a safety deposit box. For larger items that cannot be moved, consider using security devices such as smart locks and motion sensors to enhance their protection. Ensuring these items are out of sight and in a secure space can significantly reduce the risk of theft. Additionally, make an inventory of valuable items and update your insurance policies to cover them adequately.

Suspend Deliveries and Mail Service

To avoid alerting potential burglars to your absence, it’s important to suspend deliveries and mail service. A pile of newspapers or an overflowing mailbox is a clear sign that no one is home. Arrange for your newspaper delivery and mail service to be paused during your vacation. Alternatively, you can have a neighbor or a friend collect your mail daily. This simple step can significantly reduce the chances of your home being targeted by thieves. You can also use the services of the post office to hold your mail during your vacation period.

Prepare Your Outdoor Area

Before leaving for your vacation, ensure your outdoor area is well-prepared. This includes trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, and putting away garden tools and equipment. A well-maintained yard not only enhances the curb appeal of your home but also eliminates potential hiding spots for burglars. Additionally, ensure that all outdoor security lights are functioning correctly and consider installing motion sensors to further deter intruders. Adequate lighting and clear visibility around your property can be effective deterrents against criminal activity.

Install Smart Home Security Devices

Investing in smart home security devices is one of the best ways to protect your home while you are away. Devices such as security cameras, video doorbells, and smart locks provide real-time monitoring and control over your home’s security. These devices can alert you to unusual activity, allowing you to take immediate action if needed. For instance, smart video doorbells let you see and communicate with anyone at your door, no matter where you are. Installing these devices can greatly enhance your home’s security and give you peace of mind during your vacation.

Person using a smartphone app to manage home security settings with a finger touching the screen.

Exterior Home Security

Ensuring the security of your home’s exterior is a critical first step in protecting your property from potential intruders. A well-lit and monitored exterior can deter burglars and provide peace of mind while you are away. Incorporating advanced security measures such as outdoor lighting, security cameras, and motion detectors enhances the safety of your home. These elements not only protect your belongings but also contribute to the overall security of your neighborhood. By taking proactive steps to secure the exterior of your home, you create a formidable barrier against unwanted visitors.

Adequate Lighting

Ensuring your home’s exterior is well-lit is crucial for deterring burglars. Adequate lighting eliminates dark areas where intruders could hide and makes your property less appealing to criminals. Install outdoor security lights around entry points, pathways, and other vulnerable areas. Lights with motion sensors are particularly effective, as they can startle potential burglars and draw attention to their presence. In addition to traditional lighting, consider using solar-powered lights for an eco-friendly option that doesn’t rely on your home’s power supply.

Outdoor Security Lights

Outdoor security lights are an essential component of exterior home security. They illuminate dark areas around your property, making it difficult for burglars to approach unnoticed. Motion-activated lights are particularly effective, as they turn on automatically when they detect movement, startling intruders and alerting neighbors to unusual activity. Place these lights near entry points, garages, and pathways to maximize coverage. Adequate lighting is a simple yet powerful deterrent against criminal activity and can significantly enhance the overall security of your home.

Security Cameras

Installing security cameras around your home can significantly enhance its security. Modern security cameras offer high-resolution video, night vision, and remote access through mobile apps, allowing you to monitor your property in real time. Visible cameras act as a deterrent to potential burglars, while hidden cameras can capture evidence if a break-in occurs. Position cameras to cover entry points, driveways, and other vulnerable areas. Some systems also integrate with other smart home devices, providing comprehensive security coverage.

Motion Detectors

Motion detectors are another valuable addition to your home security system. These devices sense movement within a designated area and trigger alarms or lights when activated. Motion detectors can be used both indoors and outdoors to monitor different zones of your property. For outdoor use, place them in strategic locations such as near windows, doors, and gates. Indoors, motion detectors can cover hallways, rooms, and other areas where intruders might enter. When integrated with a security system, motion detectors provide an additional layer of protection, ensuring that any unauthorized movement is promptly detected and addressed.

Video Doorbell

Video doorbells are an increasingly popular security feature for modern homes. These devices allow you to see and communicate with anyone at your door, no matter where you are. Video doorbells typically include motion sensors and real-time video feeds accessible through a mobile app. This technology provides an additional layer of security by enabling you to verify visitors and monitor package deliveries. Smart video doorbells can deter would-be burglars and provide valuable evidence in the event of a security breach.

Wall-mounted smart doorbell with a camera on a textured exterior wall.

Garage Door Openers

Securing your garage is just as important as securing the rest of your home. Modern garage door openers with smart technology offer enhanced security features, such as remote access, automatic locking, and real-time alerts. These openers can be controlled through a mobile device, allowing you to ensure your garage is secure from anywhere. Additionally, consider upgrading to a model that includes rolling code technology, which changes the access code each time the opener is used, preventing unauthorized access.

Secure Pet Doors

Pet doors can be a weak point in your home’s security if not properly secured. To prevent potential burglars from using pet doors to gain entry, consider installing electronic pet doors that only open when triggered by a chip on your pet’s collar. These doors provide the convenience your pets need while maintaining the security of your home. Regularly inspect and maintain the pet door to ensure it functions correctly and remains secure against tampering.

Interior Home Security

While securing the exterior of your home is crucial, ensuring the inside of your home is protected is equally important. Interior home security focuses on safeguarding your belongings and loved ones through advanced technology and practical solutions. By integrating smart devices and maintaining vigilant practices, you can significantly enhance the security of your home’s interior. These measures not only protect against theft but also prepare your home to handle emergencies like fires and water damage.

Smart Door Locks and Sensors

Smart door locks and sensors are excellent additions to your interior home security. These devices offer keyless entry, remote locking and unlocking, and real-time alerts if an unauthorized attempt is made to access your home. Installing smart locks on all entry doors can provide enhanced security and peace of mind. Door and window sensors can also be integrated with your home security system to alert you to any unexpected openings, adding another layer of protection to your property.

Smoke Alarms and Detectors

Smoke alarms and detectors are essential for the safety of your home and family. Modern smoke detectors come with features like 10-year batteries and real-time alerts to your mobile device, ensuring you are notified immediately in case of fire. Regularly check and maintain your smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning correctly. Consider integrating these detectors with your smart home system for enhanced monitoring and alerts. Having a reliable smoke alarm system in place not only helps protect your property but also ensures the safety of everyone in the household.

Person installing a smoke detector on a textured ceiling next to another device.

Smart Lighting and Bulbs

Smart lighting and bulbs offer both convenience and security for your home. These devices can be programmed to turn on and off at specific times, simulating occupancy even when you’re away. Smart bulbs, like those from Philips Hue, can be controlled remotely, allowing you to adjust lighting from your mobile device. This capability not only enhances security but also helps manage energy consumption effectively. Using smart lighting solutions ensures your home remains well-lit and secure without wasting energy.

Water and Pipe Damage Prevention

Preventing water damage is a crucial aspect of home security. Smart water leak detectors and automated shut-off valves can help protect your home from water damage. These devices monitor your plumbing system for leaks and can automatically shut off the water supply to prevent extensive damage. Installing these systems provides peace of mind, especially if you are away from home for an extended period. Regular maintenance of your plumbing system, combined with smart technology, ensures that any potential water issues are detected and resolved promptly.

Security Barriers

Adding security barriers within your home can enhance protection. Security barriers, such as reinforced doors, window bars, and safe rooms, provide an additional layer of defense against intruders. Consider installing a basic home security system that includes motion sensors, alarms, and surveillance cameras to monitor and protect key areas of your home. These measures help ensure that even if an intruder gains entry, they will encounter significant obstacles that can delay or prevent theft. Security barriers also provide a sense of security, knowing that your home has multiple layers of protection.

Person using a smartphone app to manage home security settings with a finger touching the screen.

Additional Home Security Measures

Beyond standard security systems, there are additional measures you can take to enhance the safety of your home. These strategies involve both technological solutions and practical steps that make your home less appealing to burglars. Implementing these measures provides an extra layer of protection, ensuring your home remains secure even during extended absences.

Set Light Timers at Random Times

Setting light timers at random times is a simple yet effective way to create the illusion of activity in your home. Unlike fixed timers, smart timers can vary the on and off times for lights, making it appear as though someone is moving around inside the house. This unpredictability can deter potential burglars who may be watching for patterns. Using smart devices to control your lighting ensures that your home appears occupied, even when you’re away.

Notify Neighbors and Security Company

Before leaving for vacation, inform trusted neighbors and your security company about your plans. Neighbors can keep an eye on your property and report any unusual activity, while the security company can increase patrols or monitor your home more closely. Providing them with your contact information ensures they can reach you in case of an emergency. This community-based approach enhances your home’s security by leveraging the vigilance of those around you.

Use Curtains to Limit Visibility

Keeping curtains closed or using blackout fabric options can limit the visibility into your home, preventing potential burglars from seeing valuable items or determining if anyone is home. Ensure that curtains are drawn over windows, especially those that face the street. This simple measure can significantly reduce the risk of your home being targeted by making it more difficult for burglars to assess the interior. Combining this with adequate home security systems further strengthens your home’s defenses.

Woman in a white shirt opening gray curtains to let in sunlight.

Ask a Friend to Check on Your Property

Enlisting a friend or family member to check on your property periodically can provide additional security. They can ensure that everything is in order, bring in mail, and adjust lights to maintain the appearance of activity. Having someone physically present at your home can deter burglars and address any issues that might arise, such as a burst pipe or a security breach. This personal touch adds a layer of protection that technology alone cannot provide, ensuring your home remains safe and secure.

Avoid Revealing Your Absence on Social Media

While it might be tempting to share your vacation plans on social media, doing so can alert potential burglars to your absence. Avoid posting real-time updates about your location or travel plans until after you return. Instead, share photos and stories once you’re back home. By keeping your travels private, you reduce the risk of your home being targeted while you’re away. This precaution helps ensure your property remains secure throughout your trip.

Final Thoughts on Summer Home Safety

Smiling family of four sitting on a rug, holding a cardboard cutout shaped like a house roof.

Securing your home during the summer, especially when you plan to be away, involves a combination of practical steps and advanced technology. From checking your insurance policies to installing smart security devices, each measure contributes to a comprehensive approach to home security. At Choice Insurance Agency, we are committed to helping you protect your home and providing the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are covered. For more information on how to safeguard your property or to review your insurance coverage, contact us today.