One in five Aussie homes have been burgled, but we’re still not sold on home security systems

If you’re one of the thousands of Aussies planning an Easter weekend away at the end of the month, you’re probably a little nervous about leaving your precious abode unguarded, even if you’re covered by a comprehensive home insurance policy.

No, you’re not paranoid - according to Budget Direct Home Insurance’s recently released, Attitudes and Behaviours Towards Home Security report, approximately 20% of Australian homes have been burgled.

And these numbers spike even further during holiday periods when we leave our homes unattended, according to Budget Direct’s General Manager of Home Claims and Assessing, Chris Jarrett.

“Larger theft claims are more likely to occur when residents are away on holiday or if the home is vacant for a period of time,” said Jarrett.

“While most stolen items are small, they are usually quite expensive; jewellery and electronic devices such as iPads, mobile phones and game consoles are easy targets for burglars.”

RELATED: Can you guess the number one reason home insurance claims are denied?

How we choose to protect our homes

The survey of 1,000 homeowners also revealed that just 30% of homes had some form of security system. This is in spite of the fact that they act as a serious deterrent for thieves said Jeremy Stewart, VP of Global Marketing at Swann Communications.

“About 60% of the burglars indicated that the presence of an alarm would make them seek out an alternative target altogether,” he said, referring to a study by the University of North Carolina.

And while we’re not sold on home security, a fair few of us are far more likely to turn to quirkier alternatives with almost half (47%) of respondents reporting that they thought a ‘guard dog on duty’ sign would be enough to convince a burglar to pick another home.

The added benefit of a home security system

While it is pretty common knowledge that a home security system of some sort - whether it be an alarm or CCTV setup - is a way to discourage potential burglars, what many Aussies may not know is that they also have the potential to positively impact your home insurance premium.

According to Budget Direct’s survey, one in three Aussies don’t think a home security system would have any impact on their premium and a further 42% deem it an unnecessary expense.

But this couldn’t be farther from the truth, according to Jarrett, who said it is definitely worthwhile letting your insurance provider know if you’ve installed a home security system recently.

"Our data shows that some security devices can reduce the likelihood of theft and burglary and we will factor this in when calculating your premium,” he said.

RELATED: Could easy, app-based home insurance make its Aussie debut this year?

5 tips to keep your home safe over Easter

If you’re heading away over the Easter long weekend, check out some of our top tips to keeping your home and all of its contents safe and secure.

1. Get techy: If you haven’t, seriously consider a home security system. Not only will it act as a considerable deterrent for thieves but it could potentially save you on your home insurance premium as well.

2. Rethink your spare key hidey hole: If you’re going to be spending a while away, maybe it’s a good idea to move the spare key from under the mat and give it to a trusted friend or family member to mind.

3. Do the double check: It can be a bit of a mad rush when you’re leaving for a road trip, but make sure you double check that all entry points are properly locked and closed before you hit the road.

4. Update your lighting: Thieves like to do their best work at night and in the dark, so make sure any motion-sensored lights are fully functional and switched on.

5. 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 purchases  that aren’t covered under your home and contents insurance policy.

But not all of us are heading away over the Easter break. For the rest of us, why not use the break as an opportunity to sit down (with a couple of easter eggs) and find a great value home insurance policy? You can check out a range of popular options on the market, using our home insurance comparison tables.