Helpful “Home Tips” when no one is home

When you are away, a quiet and empty home becomes a prime target for intruders. Especially because they have less chance of being disturbed, and the offence can go undetected for hours, days, weeks or even months.

Intruders do look for signs that a home is unoccupied, and the longer its unoccupied, the more vulnerable that property becomes. It’s important to be proactive before you go away, no matter how long you are away for, and if it’s for an extended period of time, consider someone to house sit.

It’s also timely to remind you that it has become easier than ever to figure out if someone isn’t home, simply by looking at Instagram or Facebook. Sharing a photo of any location tells all your followers you are not home. Including location settings on apps such as Snapchat, is a simple way of finding out. Consider setting your social media accounts to private and only share with trusted family and friends. I think we’ve all become subject to this type of exposure.


Tips for keeping your home secure whilst you are away:

  • Check all doors and windows are securely locked and consider security screens on accessible doors and windows.
  • Put a key lock on garage’s/sheds when you are not home.
  • Ask trustworthy neighbours to watch for visitors, but do not tell visitors you are away.
  • If away for a few weeks, ask a friend, neighbour or family members to mow the lawn and water the plants.
  • Ask a neighbour to collect your mail or redirect mail to be held at a Post Office whilst you are away.
  • Disconnect your doorbell. If an intruder rings a doorbell at night, and no light goes on – they can sense no one is home.
  • Cancel all deliveries (i.e. newspapers), but don’t forget the local newspaper – this will still be delivered, and often will sit on your footpath/driveway until someone picks it up.
  • Put a “no junk mail” sticker on your letterbox, so it doesn’t accumulate. Ask a neighbour to collect if it is delivered regardless.
  • Put your garbage bins away and secure them out of sight.
  • Install and activate an alarm system.
  • Set up electrical timers that automatically switch on lights and tune your radio to a talk-back program during the day so your house looks and sounds “normal”.
  • Disconnect the electrical pad on radio controlled or electronic garage doors and use an auxiliary key lock instead to secure your garage door.
  • Turn down the volume of your home telephone and don’t leave a message on your answering machine or mobile phone that tells callers you are away.
  • Install external sensor lights.
  • Check the yard to ensure no ladders, tools or items of value are accessible. If something is external to your home, consider it vulnerable and ask yourself what would you do if something happened to it.
  • Don’t leave keys concealed outside your home. If you need to leave a set of spare keys, give them to a trusted friend or neighbour and make sure they leave them in a safe place.
  • Ask neighbours to keep an eye on your house and if they notice anything suspicious to contact police.
  • Secure your vehicle if leaving it at home. Do not leave spare car keys in a visible location.
  • Ask your neighbour to park their car in your driveway at different times.
  • Remember your Social Media accounts and be careful what information you share to the public.
  • Marking items of value with an identification number or code which might deter a thief. Items that have been marked are harder to be sold or offloaded. This can be done through engraving or microdoting. Tell your local police station your code. You can also collect ID warning stickers to place on your engraved items and on your doors or windows to act as a deterrent to would-be intruders.
  • Keep accurate records in a safe place. It’s important to keep an inventory list as this will help you make an insurance claim and assist police in recovering stolen items. List the serial, make and model numbers and keep the original receipts of valuable items, including valuation certificates and photos of items in a safe place.

If you need to update your home and contents insurance, purchase travel insurance or speak to your Citycover Insurance Adviser, please contact us on (07) 3270 1500.

Most importantly stay safe.