11 Smart Ways to Protect Your Home and Save Money

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Going on holiday? It takes a little more than just hiding your valuables, locking the doors, and turning on the alarm to protect your home. Whether you’re on your way to Cancun for the week or to the cottage for the weekend, you want to leave your home knowing your belongings are safe and you’re not spending unnecessary money around the house while you’re gone.

Follow these tips to go a step further to save some money and have a worry-free vacation.

1. Control Lighting

Use a light switch timer or an app to turn some of your indoor and outdoor lights on and off automatically to make it look like someone is home and deter burglars. Try to switch up the times to make it look more natural.

2. Fix Your Curtains

Don’t close all your curtains and blinds. Keeping all of them closed may prevent passers-by from looking inside, but leaving some open looks more normal.

3. Unplug, Save and Prevent

Many appliances use power even when they're turned off. Save money on your electric bill and prevent power surges by unplugging your television, computer, sound system, toaster oven, and other appliances.

Unplug your automatic garage door as well to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote and lock your garage with a padlock.

4. Adjust the Thermostat - Don’t Turn It Off!

Adjust your thermostat by a few more or less degrees (depending on the season) than your normal settings to save on your bill. Set the heat to about 10° in the winter to keep the pipes from freezing. Set the air conditioning to about 30° during the summer.

5. Remove Your Spare Key

Whether it’s under the mat, in the mail box or in a plant pot, thieves will likely search the porch and the surrounding area for a spare key if they figure out you’re away.

6. Lock Your Tools Away

Thieves can use your ladders, saws, and hammers to gain access to your home. Make sure your tools locked away in the house, garage or shed.

7. Tell Your Home Insurance Provider

If nobody will be home for a long time (usually more than 30 days), let your home insurer know so your policy remains in force while you’re away. They may require extra precautions be taken, like having someone enter the home on a regular basis to ensure everything is in working order.

8. Phone a Friend

Ask a trusted neighbour, family member or friend to check on the place periodically while you’re gone. Give them the spare key so they can make the house look occupied by doing things like:

  • bringing in your mail so it doesn’t pile up
  • watering your plants
  • raking the leaves, mowing the lawn, or shoveling your walkway
  • putting out the garbage or recycling bin

If you park on the street, you may want to give this person a key to your car in case your vehicle needs to be moved.

9. Alert Your Alarm Company

Notify your home security company when you’ll be away so they’ll be on high alert.

  • Did you know? A home security system may save you on your home insurance premium. Depending on the type of system, you can probably receive a 5 per cent discount or more.

10. Advertise Protection

Consider putting up a sticker advertising the alarm system, or a "beware of dog" sign (even if you don’t have either!)

11. But Don’t Advertise Your Vacation Online

Last but not least: You can do as much as you can to make your house look normal and lived-in while you’re gone, but if you announce to the world on Twitter and Facebook that you’re going away, everyone is going to undoubtedly know your house is empty.

  • Keep the news between close family and friends.
  • If posting while you’re away, adjust your privacy settings to control who sees your posts and disable your location settings.

Your house may be protected while you’re travelling… but are you? Prepare for any emergency with travel insurance, no matter where you’re going or how long you’ll be there.