Claiming on insurance is a bit like an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. It’s rarely something we want to have to use but we’re sure glad it’s there when we need it.
An insurance claim usually means things have not gone your way and actually using that insurance that you’ve so diligently been paying for can be a bittersweet moment.
Many people find they need to claim on home and contents insurance after a break in. It’s an emotional time where the home occupants often feel violated and struggle to catalogue all the damage and missing items.
Fortunately, there are ways to make being victim of theft less likely. By putting a fence at the top of the cliff first, you’re less likely to need that ambulance at the bottom of it.
Here’s our top ten tips on how you can better protect your home from theft.
1. Install a security system
An alarm is a fantastic way to help deter burglars. If a burglar does activate your alarm, the noise is often enough to scare them away. But the best way to get the most out of an alarm is by having it monitored. This means that the monitoring company is alerted when the alarm goes off and police can be alerted.
Another great security system is something like Ring. This is a motion-activated camera and sound system that links to an app on your phone. You can see any movement through the camera at the house and even talk through the system to whoever is there.
2. Strengthen locks
When was the last time you had a good look at the locks in your house? Main doors into the house should have sturdy locks designed specifically as entry locks. They should also be installed correctly and repaired if showing any signs of weakening. You may also want to consider specific window locks as an additional security measure
3. Reinforce doors & windows
Thickened glass on windows is a good way to ensure your windows can stand up to an attempted forced entry.
When it comes to doors, a good kick can send a wooden door flying so consider a metal door instead. There are many attractive doors available in aluminium which are a smart and modern alternative to wood.
4. Store your valuables in a safe.
Small safes are worth their weight in gold for storing jewellery, important documents, passports and precious items.
They’re particularly useful if you’re going away and want to store valuables during your absence. We recommend a safe that can be bolted into the floor to ensure it cannot be picked up and taken away. The garage is often a good place for keeping a bolted safe.
5. Mark your property with identifiable marks
If the worst happens and your belongings are stolen, it’s a great idea to ensure they can be identified as yours if it’s ever recovered down the track. Make sure you mark down all serial numbers for appliances and tools and take pictures of these to have in your records. This will also help if your property is not recovered and you need to make an insurance claim.
Another good tactic is to add an identifying mark to your property so that you can easily see that it’s yours. Take photos of the marks you make and keep them in your records.
6. Be careful when absent
When you’re away from your house for any period of time, it’s a good idea to make the house look as lived in as possible. Cancel newspaper subscriptions. Ask the post office to hold your mail or ask a trusted neighbour to collect it. Lights can be put on timers in the evening to give the impression that people are at home.
7. Hold back on social media
As an extra safety precaution, think carefully about what you’re posting on social media. Holiday pictures are a dead giveaway that your house is empty so save them for your return.
Before you go away, it’s also a good idea to check your social media privacy settings to ensure that only the people you choose are seeing your content.
8. Hide your car keys
When you go away, take your car keys with you or lock them in the safe. Burglars can take off with a property owner’s car and even use it to transport the goods they’ve just stolen from the house. Don’t make it that easy for them!
9. Keep a watchful eye
Ask friends, family and trusted neighbours to check in on your house regularly. Clearing any rubbish that has blown into the porch or driveway and keeping the letterbox clear of junk mail is a great way to ensure a house looks lived in.
10. Make sure insurance coverage includes theft
Back to that old ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. If all else fails and you are going to need to make a claim, make sure your insurance policy covers theft. This is one of the great things about working with a broker. We can make sure that your insurance covers you for exactly what you need.