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Keep your home and valuables safe while you travel

Contact: Jennifer Bowen

(334) 269-3550

7/17/2018

As the summer sails by, your plans may include travel to escape the heat or soak in the sun. Before you pack your bags, you should evaluate your insurance risks and needs. These tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) can help ensure sure you are protected while you enjoy your summer fun.

Traveling

Whether you're leaving for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, be aware of what your homeowners or renters policy will cover. Typically, your homeowners insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you're not at home. Off-premises coverage means your belongings are insured anywhere in the world. If you're staying at a hotel and your belongings are stolen, your homeowners policy will provide protection, but the exact coverage depends on your policy. In addition to your deductible, expensive items such as jewelry will typically have a replacement limit. Contact your agent to find out what's insured under your policy.

Discourage Break-Ins

Making your home a less enticing target can discourage break-ins and may even lower your insurance premium.

  • Install deadbolts on doors and windows. These can slow a burglar and in some cases lead to an insurance discount.
  • Invest in an alarm system or motion-activated camera. Some alarm systems may result in an insurance discount.

Keep your home looking "lived in."

  • Put interior lights on a timer or choose a few rooms to remain lit to give the impression someone is home.
  • Stop mail delivery or have a neighbor collect your mail, newspapers and packages so they don't stack up outside.
  • Hire someone to cut the grass if you'll be gone long enough that growth will be noticeable.
  • Leave a radio on and turn down your doorbell volume, if possible. Some thieves ring the doorbell or knock to determine if anyone is home. Having a loud radio playing and the doorbell muted plants doubt in an intruder's mind.
  • Have a car parked in your driveway. Another way to make a home look lived in is to have cars coming and going from the driveway throughout the day.

Protecting your home's contents is also important. Give a spare key to a neighbor or friend to have access to the home. Avoid putting the key under the mat, as thieves often check there. Store important documents and expensive items in a lockbox, a safe or at another location. Don't keep valuable documents in a personal desk or office where burglars will know to look for them. Stow your computer out of sight to discourage an intruder from trying to hack into your personal accounts.

Wait to Share on Social Media

Don't announce your trip in advance except to trusted friends. Talking about an upcoming trip in public settings or posting trip photos on social media while you are away lets potential burglars know your home is empty. Wait until you are home to share the trip highlights on social media.