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Protect Your Home While You're Away

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Empty homes provide summer burglars with easy pickings. In the excitement of preparing for your holiday, double checking your home cover is up-to-date might not seem very appealing. But when you leave your home empty you leave it at risk, so it is absolutely essential that you make sure it is secure and protected.

The summer is a peak time for burglaries, with 42% more theft claims than in the winter months according to Saga Home Insurance, which also says that nearly half of all burglaries occur when a home is empty.

What should you do to protect your home?

You need to do everything you can to make it look as though you are still at home.

Measures such as cancelling the milk and newspapers, and getting timers on your lights can be helpful, but it's also worth asking a friend or member of the family to act as a housesitter while you are away, or at least to push any protruding post through your letter box.

Decent window and door locks are vital, as is a burglar alarm (according to recent research from, 16 million homes in the UK do not have an alarm fitted), and having these in place could also reduce your home insurance premiums.

Also look at access to your back garden or the side of your property. Do you have a sturdy gate with a lock, or is it easy for somebody to access your land without being seen?

Whatever you do, don't leave a spare set of keys in the garage or shed - even if you think they are well hidden.

Ensure you insure your property

These preventative measures are important but the reality is that burglaries still happen. They are always upsetting and some things are irreplaceable, but knowing that home insurance could recompense you for your belongings is invaluable.

Yet despite this, estimates that almost 10 million households in the UK do not have any form of home insurance.

Is your home underinsured?

Even those who do have contents insurance are often significantly underinsured. This happens because, as we increase our possessions over time, we tend to forget to increase our contents insurance to cover the extra value. This is a potentially expensive problem, particularly when you consider that research by Sainsbury's found that the cost of replacing the contents of the average British home is £45,000.

Cover your car

If you are taking your car on holiday you might be making long car journeys or driving in unfamiliar areas. A bump on holiday could be costly and comprehensive car insurance could save you hundreds of pounds.

Even if you are leaving the car at home this year, it could be at risk of theft. If you only have third party cover, upgrading could be a smart move and needn't mean vastly increased premiums.

Whatever you do, don't neglect your home and possessions when you go away. It can cost surprisingly little for the peace of mind that your property is protected.
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