Go on holidays with peace of mind
IF YOU'RE planning a getaway over the holiday period, take a few extra precautions to keep your home and belongings safe.
Security industry body ASIAL is warning that the holiday season is a peak period for break-and-enters.
Home burglaries have been trending downwards over the past five years, largely because homeowners have become more security conscious. But it's important not to become complacent.
ASIAL have put together some tips to help you avoid being targeted by burglars.
First, be careful on social media.
Don't list your street address on your profile, and don't advertise that you're going away - consider sharing your holidays when you return home. If you do post, think about disabling location services.
Avoid making it obvious that no one's at home. Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your place and collect your mail. If possible, leave a car in the driveway.
Put away anything that could be used as a makeshift ladder, hide valuables from view and be sure doors and windows are locked when you leave. It's easy to overlook these basics in the rush to get away, but according to research group Canstar, some insurers won't pay on a contents claim if there's no sign of forced entry.
If you must leave a spare key out, don't put it somewhere obvious. I despair when I come across research showing one in five of us keep a key under the door mat.
If you're heading off on an extended trip, check your home and contents insurance to see how long you can be away for before your cover is voided.
Different insurers have varying time frames, but leaving a home vacant for more than 60 days is a typical benchmark beyond which claims can be denied.
The holiday season is also a good time to review your home and contents insurance.
If you've completed renovations during the year it's worth speaking to your insurer about an up-tick in your home's insured value.
Similarly, if Santa put some jewellery, artworks, appliances or other high-value items under the tree, it can be worth upgrading your contents cover.
Paying a bit extra in premiums can buy a lot more additional insurance, and it lets you relax while you're away, knowing you're fully covered.