Going on a Holiday? Here Are 8 Steps to Prevent a Home Invasion

Steps to prevent a home invasion

Winters in Calgary are long and cold, and sometimes you need a holiday. Whether you’re hoping to swap out snow for warm beaches or simply leaving to visit family for a special occasion, you want to know that your home will be safe in your absence. Break-ins can happen at any time, and to anyone. Therefore, acting preventatively is your best strategy for protecting your home, valuables, and possessions.

The aim of these preventative measures is to keep your home from being targeted in the first place. If a burglar thinks they can gain access to your house, then they’re likely to try. Deterring criminals from the very start can make all the difference.

Home insurance is there for you in case the worst happens, but the goal is to prevent catastrophe from ever happening in the first place. These 8 steps will help keep thieves at bay and your home safe, even when you’re far away.

1. Indoor appearances

  • Lighting is a powerful tactic for deterring potential thieves. Leaving a few lights on inside will make it look like someone’s home. If you’re worried about your electricity bill, then consider putting your lights on timers.
  • Create a low or moderate background noise that will play within your house during your absence, such as a TV or radio.
  • Ensure that your valuables are out of sight and secured. You don’t want a burglar to be able to see anything valuable by looking through a window. Consider storing jewellery and other smaller valuables in a safe deposit box.

2. Outdoor appearances

  • Exterior lighting is also a great tool for making your house look unattractive to criminals. Houses that are dark with low visibility are more of a risk. A well-lit yard means that not only does your house look more inhabited, but it’s more visible to neighbours and other potential witnesses.
  • Arrange for a neighbour or friend to pick up your packages for you. Better yet, stop all newspapers and have mail held at the post office or delivered to another address. A pile of packages left on your doorstep will attract porch pirates and other thieves on top of making your house look uninhabited.
  • Organising lawn care in your absence is another way to avoid indicating to thieves that you’re away on holidays.
  • Trim any large bushes or trees that obscure visibility and could give thieves something to hide behind. You want to eliminate as many blind spots as possible.

3. Lock the garage

  • Close and lock your garage. It’s surprisingly common to forget to fully close or lock a garage before going away, and this makes it easy for thieves. If your garage door is compromised, a burglar may be able to break in even if it’s been shut all the way.

4. Have strong doors and windows

  • A weak door is an appealing entranceway for a thief. Thick, solid doors are much harder to break and take considerably longer, thus making your house a less appealing target. Thieves want to be able to get in and out quickly, and a stately door will prevent that.
  • Your doors should also be equipped with strong locks, such as deadbolts or smart locks. Sliding entrance doors should have bolt locks.
  • Remove the short screws from the door jam portion of your deadbolt lock and replace them with 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inch long screws. This will make it more difficult for someone to force their way into your home. 
  • Remember to close and lock all windows. It’s also a good idea to install strong windows with thick glass and visibly locked latches.
  • Closed blinds and curtains prevent thieves from looking through your window into your house. You don’t want burglars to be able to see that you aren’t home or scope your home for valuables.

5. Don’t leave hidden keys outside

  • Hiding a spare key outside your home is a huge liability. Thieves will often look for a hidden, emergency key before breaking in (and they know the usual spots!). If they have been watching your house, they might already know where the key is. The safest place for your keys is with you or with an emergency contact.

6. Reach out to your community

  • Ask a neighbour, friend, or family member to keep an eye on your house while you’re away. A watchful neighbour can call the police in case of trouble. Make a plan with someone you trust in case the worst happens.
  • Having someone collect your mail, mow your lawn, or even stay at your home for a night or two can go a long way to making your house look inhabited.

7. Wait to post on social media

  • Wait to share pictures and videos of your trip until after you have returned home. It’s easy for a potential burglar to see your holiday updates and learn that you’re away. Announcing your location on social media is never a good idea.

8. Use a home security system

  • Investing in a home security system is a great way to keep your home safe. A good security system will deter thieves and also notify the authorities (and you) if a break-in occurs.
  • If you already have a security system installed, notify the alarm company that you’ll be away. Ensure that it’s activated before you leave.

Your Peace of Mind and Safety are Important

Leaving your home and possessions for an extended period of time can be worrying. When you are proactive and take steps to prevent a house invasion, you are not only helping to guard your home, you are also protecting your state of mind. By following these suggestions, you will be able to rest easy and enjoy your vacation knowing that you did everything possible to ensure that when you get home, everything is just as you left it.

And for the times when you do everything right, but still the unthinkable happens, home insurance is there for you. Before you leave for vacation, make sure that you have a rigorous home insurance plan that will look after you, your home, and your belongings even in a worst-case scenario. At Bow Valley Insurance, we make sure that you have the best possible plan that meets all your needs.

To ensure that your home is protected and to learn more about home insurance in Alberta, call Bow Valley Insurance at 587-855-4260 or 1-844-310-9918 or contact us here.

Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.