Keeping your home safe
It’s important to have the right insurance cover for your home and contents, in case the unexpected happens. However, taking a few simple precautions could prevent you ever having to make a claim in the first place, and could also save you money on your insurance premiums.
According to Statistics NZ, during 2015 there were 6657 recorded cases of unlawful entry with intent/burglary, with the month of December 2015 being the worst with 639 cases.
So how can you prevent this kind of intrusion happening to you? We’ve compiled 10 practical steps you can take to reduce the chance of a burglary.
- Be aware
The easiest and simplest way is to make sure you have completely secured your property before leaving for work or going to bed. In the hotter months it’s tempting to keep a window open at night, but thieves are opportunistic and rely on these easy ways in.
Even if you’re at home during the day, be aware that it only takes seconds for someone to walk in and take something while you’re in another part of the property.
- Don’t advertise
When listing on online auction sites such as Trademe – ensure pictures of the product don’t include any unique features of your home or the area you live in.
The same goes for leaving empty boxes of expensive electronics on your curbside before rubbish day, you’re essentially creating a shopping list of items to nab.
- Don’t leave keys outside
Whilst it can be handy to have a spare somewhere easily accessible, thieves generally know all the good hiding spots – so don’t take the risk, even just as a one off. Keys are easily copied so never give one out to a tradesperson.
TOP TIP: Leaving a spare with a friend or neighbour ensures you have an option if you’re ever locked out.
- Sound the alarm
If you’re in a position to do it, consider getting professionals to install a burglar alarm system. Professionally installed alarm systems are still one of the most effective forms of home protection. Get one that’s loud – it’ll give the burglars a jolly good fright while also letting your neighbours know that something’s up. Place alarm company stickers on your doors and windows to discourage would-be burglars.
GOOD TO KNOW: An adequate and professionally installed alarm using an external siren can save you money on your insurance. If you’ve recently added a home alarm to your property, make sure you update your policy details. With AMI you may be entitled to get a 10% discount on your contents insurance premium. Give us a call on 0800 100 200 to find out more.
- Lock back and side gates
Thieves love side and back entrances to homes, because they provide hidden access to your home. Take measures to make these entrances are as hard to access as possible with sturdy bolts. You can also stick a bell or chime to your gate alerting you to the fact someone is entering.
TOP TIP: If you have a pathway or walkway, laying down shells will also help to alert you if anyone is approaching your home.
- Lock garden sheds and garages
Make sure your tools and sporting equipment have as much protection as your indoor contents. Tools in sheds, bolt cutters for example, can also provide thieves with the means to break into your home. Make sure you don’t leave “wheely valuables” like prams and bikes, outside.
TOP TIP: Paint the handles of all your tools, or engrave them with your name or number. Thieves are less likely to take things that are personalised or easily identifiable. It also helps the police with recovery should they go missing.
- Light it up
Install motion-sensor lighting in key areas, where darkness may hide an intruder. Sensor lights will let you know if anyone is approaching your home at night that maybe shouldn’t be. They also provide visibility to areas where security cameras are installed. Solar powered ones are a great way to go because they don’t need hard wiring and will save on power.
- While you’re away
- Don’t advertise the fact you’re away publicly on social media.
- Ask a neighbour to collect mail so that your mailbox is not overflowing – a sure sign you’re not home.
- Get someone to mow the lawns for you if you’re away for longer than a week or two.
- Employ a security company to monitor your home and send the appropriate response team when an alarm is activated. This is a good option if you are away from home a lot.
- Love thy Neighbour
You don’t have to give them a hug and a kiss every time you see them, but try to build a good connection with your neighbours. They’ll be able to keep an eye on your place if you’re away. And they’re always good for a cup of sugar when you’re out too.
AMI is pleased to be partnered with Neighbourly – a free, private social networking website that encourages safety, community and interaction between neighbours and neighbourhoods.
While you’re there, check out the Home Contents Locker – a secure, online “locker” where you’re able keep a record of your contents with pictures, descriptions, serial numbers, warranty details and more. This is a great way to keep track of your possessions, and is a great help to police and your insurer if the worst does happen.
- Keep up to date
Finally, make sure your home and contents insurance policies are up to date and that you understand what you’re covered for and what your excesses are.
If you’re an AMI customer you can create an online account, so you can see your policy details at a glance.. If anything doesn’t make sense or you see an area that needs changing or updating give us a call and we can update this for you.
More info on home safety:
www.ns.org.nz: Who burgles a house and why?
www.police.govt.nz: Keep yourself safe at home