It is that time of year when large numbers of Americans are hitting the road, sea, and air for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years celebrations. While preparing for your long-awaited Caribbean cruise, ski trip or traveling to visit family and friends, did you remember to take the precautions necessary to keep your home safe while you’re away? Did you purchase home or travel insurance? What does your policy cover? If you have questions about your home, renters, or travel insurance, call Corless Barfield Trial Group at 877-517-5595 or 813-258-4998 and subscribe to our newsletter at https://www.corlessbarfield.com/subscribe/. Here are key safety precautions to prevent burglaries and property damage while you are away:
- Disconnect the computer, TV, stereo, coffee makers, lamps, and other electronics, or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector to prevent power surges and avoid electrical fires.
- Lock all your windows and doors. It’s a no-brainer to lock all your doors before going on vacation, but don’t forget to secure other openings, like dog and cat doors, to prevent burglars from reaching in with a tool and unlocking the door. Collect any hidden spare keys from around the exterior of your home. If you have an automatic garage door, consider disconnecting the electronic opener and placing a padlock on the garage-door track instead.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are in working order. Tell a trusted neighbor your travel plans, too, and ask them to help keep an eye on your property and alert the police to any suspicious activity.
- An overflowing mailbox, garbage cans left on the curb, and a pile of packages or newspapers on your property are clear indications that someone hasn’t been home for a while. Have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. You can temporarily stop delivery by contacting your newspaper carrier and the USPS, and have a neighbor bring in the garbage bins.
- Shutting off the main water supply may help eliminate the possibility of plumbing problems, such as burst or leaking pipes. Insulating pipes and keeping the heat on during a cold snap will help prevent burst pipes. Be sure to set the HVAC. Set a programmable thermostat to lower your heat or air conditioning usage.
- Having an alarm system installed in your home is also advisable and it could help you qualify for an extra discount on homeowners or renters insurance. The Insurance Information Institute reports that a high-tech alarm system can result in insurance discounts of 15 to 20 percent.
- Lock up important documents to prevent burglars from accessing financial and personal information. Securing expensive jewelry and small electronic devices before leaving home will likewise help you avoid the theft of your most valuable possessions.
- Stay off social media.Never broadcast your location on Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter. Refrain from posting photos, status updates, or “checking in” while on vacation. Even if you have the highest security settings on social media, unwanted eyes could still see your personal information.
- When it comes to your personal and financial protection, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance. Travelers tend to buy insurance if they are more at risk or more likely than the average policyholder to make a claim. About 30 percent of globetrotters buy travel insurance, according to Consumer Reports. Travelers can protect their trip against diseases, natural disasters, civil unrest, and terrorism. Travel insurance is a comforting concept, but sales representatives may sell you false security. If you have questions about travel insurance, please call Corless Barfield Trial Group at 877-517-5595 or 813-258-4998.