‘Tis the Season for… Theft?

‘Tis the Season for… Theft?

The holiday season is upon us, bringing lights, carols, and Christmas cheer. Unfortunately, this season also brings an increased risk of break and enter and theft. Whether you’re headed away for vacation or just busy out and about enjoying the season, the tips below can help you stay safe this holiday season.

Lock em up.

Check that all windows and doors in your home are locked (don’t forget the basement, the garage, and the shed), and consider putting security bars inside your window frames on main-floor and basement windows so they can’t slide open. You could also install a company- or self-monitored security system for added protection, which might qualify you for an additional discount on your home insurance.

Make your home look lived-in.

Set automatic timers to turn on your indoor and outdoor lights in the evening, and consider setting a timer that runs the TV or radio for a few hours each day. Potential burglars are less likely to break into a home if they can hear noise coming from inside.  If it’s a white Christmas, you’ll also want to have someone shovel after each snowfall to make it look like you’re home and prevent any liability claims that could come up if someone slipped on your sidewalk.

Don’t be a showoff.

Leaving piles of empty gift bags in your recycling bin — or even worse, leaving the box from that brand new TV or PlayStation at the side of the road — is basically an advertisement telling potential burglars that there’s a bunch of nice new stuff inside your home that’s begging to be stolen. Place empty gift bags and boxes in black garbage bags before leaving them outdoors. This goes for items in your vehicle too- a car full of gifts is a tempting target for a thief, and could leave you with double the disappointment- a broken window and stolen gifts.

Socialize, but stay off Social Media

It’s tempting to post about how amazing your hot holiday is or show off the amazing gifts you got, but social media is a great way to broadcast to would-be thieves that you aren’t home or that you have valuable items worth stealing. Keep the vacation pictures under wraps until you get home, and be wary of what you post.

Forward your mail and stop your newspaper deliveries.

Nothing says “we’re not home!” quite like an overflowing mailbox or a month’s worth of newspapers piled up on your front porch. Cancel your newspaper deliveries and arrange mail forwarding to keep your mailbox empty and make sure you don’t miss any important bills or letters.

Protect your luggage.

If you’re travelling, a few simple precautions could help make sure you don’t end up high and dry away from home without your luggage. Avoid using designer bags in favor of more basic luggage so as not to draw a thief’s attention, and keep your bags nearby when you’re distracted at security. When placing bags in the overhead bin, face the zippers towards the back of the bin so it’s trickier to access them if you slip away from your seat or catch a few z’s.

To help you relax over the holiday season, know that your home insurance policy likely has your fancy new gifts (and the rest of your stuff) covered. But if you have any questions or want to update your coverage at any time, be sure to talk to your insurance broker. And if you’re headed to the US this holiday season, take a little time to learn what else you should know before you go.