7 tips to help protect your home while on holiday this silly season
It’s no real secret that Aussies love heading on an end-of-year holiday over the Christmas and New Year period, but when you’re spending $600 on beer over the break and almost $500 on vacation vino, you don’t want to be forking out for a home insurance claim.
It isn’t just the beer and wine that needs buying, either. In fact, according to the ABS’ Household Expenditure Survey, the average Aussie household spends close to $4,000 on holiday expenses like fresh seafood, fruit, camping equipment and of course, sunscreen.
And while our bellies might be full, this time of year often leaves our bank accounts looking a little more slender, so the last thing you want to have to fund is a costly home insurance claim.
With that in mind, here are our top seven tips to help keep your home safe and secure while away on holidays this silly season.
1. Enlist a helper
Aussies are a charitable bunch, so ask a friendly neighbour to keep an eye on your home over the holiday period and let you (or the police) know if anyone is suspiciously snooping around. Aside from that, they’ll also be able to take the trash out and collect your mail, which will help make it less obvious that you’ve headed abroad or down the coast for a couple of weeks.
2. Find a house sitter
Theft cover on home insurance policies comes with an expiry date which means if you’re off on a huge, overseas expedition or a lengthy Aussie adventure you might need to consider finding a house sitter. In fact, according to Mozo’s database, 56 policies have theft cover that expires after 60 days of a home being empty, 6 policies push it to 90 days and just 1 policy lasts for 120 days. So it is important to check your own individual PDS before you leave and if needed, make alternate arrangements to have someone live in your home for a little while.
3. Check and double check
It always seems like a bit of a mad rush when you’re heading away on holiday but it could seriously cost you if you don’t check and double check that you’ve locked every door and window in your home. It is also a good idea to turn off and unplug all appliances at the powerpoint. Not only will this make a welcomed difference to your summer energy bill, but it will reduce the risk of fire, making your home that little bit safer.
4. Hide the spare key (again)
Did you know that some insurance policies will be voided if you ‘provide a means of entry’? This includes conveniently placed ladders and spare keys, so stash away any thief-friendly tools you might have left lying around your backyard and leave your spare key with a relative or trusted friend while you’re away.
5. Shutdown your social media game
Nothing says “I’m having the time of my life on holiday” like a strategically taken photo of you, sangria in-hand, by the poolside of some luxurious resort with a sunset as the backdrop. But while the urge to gloat over your new-found freedom is understandably strong while on holiday, maybe wait till your back home to post any pictures to Facebook or Instagram. Our social media feeds are ever-expanding and you don’t really want to be advertising that you’ve left your home unattended for a lengthy period of time.
6. Install some new tech
If you’re heading abroad over the Christmas period it isn’t too late to install some nifty new tech to make your house that little bit more secure. Consider installing timer switches on the lights closest to windows or your radio, to give the impression you’re still home. Alarms and security systems are also a good investment - not only will they make your home less enticing to potential thieves, they could also reduce your insurance premiums.
7. Update your insurance policy
The last thing you need, if you’ve returned home to a ransacked house, is to realise that you haven’t updated your insurer on a host of new appliances and valuables that now reside in your humble abode. Especially over the gift-giving (and receiving) season, it is important to update your home and contents insurance policy so that if your brand new television or surround sound system is nicked - you’re adequately covered.
If nabbing a more comprehensive home and contents insurance policy is on your list of things to sort out over the holidays, check out a range of policies, comparing their features and coverage with Mozo’s home insurance comparison tool.