Vacation/Holidays

Before you head off home for the holiday give some thought to protecting your home while you are away. Although you can’t remove all risks, with forward planning you can do a lot to minimize the potential for a disaster. So take some time to work your way through the SUAC checklist and then enjoy your vacation

Does your landlord or agent need to know?

It is a requirement of some tenancy agreements (contracts) for you to let your landlord or agent know when you are away from the property for any length of time. So check your tenancy agreement or you may find that you have invalidated your landlords’ buildings insurance and breached the terms of your contract.

Protecting the property

Turn off or adjust your gas/water/electricity supply according to the weather. This may also be a condition of your tenancy agreement. You could find yourself having to pay for damages if your fail to meet the terms of your contract but even if it’s not a contractual obligation it makes sense to minimize the risk of a fire or flood from such things as a burst pipe or water tank.

During the winter months set the central heating timer to come on for an hour or so each day or set the thermostat to frost protection

Security

Students are high on the statistics list when it comes to being burgled: partly because “Students own more expensive consumer goods per head than the rest of the population”… (and partly because) …“young people (aged 16 to 24 year old) are around three times more likely to be victims of burglary than people in other age groups” www.homeoffice.gov.uk

So if you want to avoid becoming a victim of the opportunist thief, use a bit of common sense before you set off on holiday:

  • Lock all opening windows and doors fully, even if you have to buy extra window and door locks yourself
  • Lock the shed and garage as securely as you can
  • Don’t leave ladders, tools or anything else lying around in the garden that would make a break-in easier
  • Make alternative arrangements for Amazon/book club/catalogue or any irregular or one off deliveries that are due while you are away
  • Set timer switches in several rooms to come on and go off at different times
  • Don’t leave a message on your answer phone advertising the length of time you will be away
  • If you’ve been a good neighbour you may be able to call in a favour and ask someone local to close and open curtains for you and remove any mail/free newspapers/leaflets etc. from the letter box
  • Inform your neighbourhood watch co-ordinator
  • Consider taking valuables home with you
  • Set the burglar alarm if you have one

Insurance

Unfortunately even your best efforts can’t guarantee that you won’t become a victim of crime. So make sure that you are insured. Not just for the vacation period but all year round. At least then you will be able to replace what has been lost providing you’ve taken reasonable steps to protect your property and not done anything that will invalidate your insurance.

  • Shop around for quotes from at least three insurance companies
  • Postcode your possessions with a security pen
  • Record the serial number/price/place of purchase of valuable items such as PC/DVD etc.