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Secure your home before your holiday

Secure your home before your holiday

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 04/08/2016
First Published: 03/08/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Going on holiday is an exciting time, but in the midst of all that anticipation, it can be easy to neglect the home you're leaving behind. That's why M&S Bank is urging holidaymakers to take steps to properly secure their home against thieves before they jet off, following research which shows a worrying lack of security measures.

The research found that one in 10 respondents have had their current home broken into, and even more worryingly, 22% of those have been burgled more than once. In over half (56%) of cases, the thief either smashed a window or broke a door lock to gain access to the property, but some had easier access, with 20% of respondents admitting that they'd accidentally left a window or door unlocked – up 6% on a year ago.

This in particular is something that M&S Bank is hoping to warn against for those set to go on holiday this year, because with 70% planning to jet off – and 76% planning to be away for a week or more, and 28% for at least a fortnight – there could be prime opportunities for thieves to take advantage of empty homes.

Many are gifting would-be thieves with even greater opportunity thanks to a clear lack of safety preparations. For example, 12% of holidaymakers said they weren't taking, or didn't know if they would take, any security precautions before leaving. Just 36% have security lighting and 32% have an alarm system – and 46% of respondents have neither.

It needn't take much to be properly secure, either. Aside from things like alarm systems and security lighting, even ensuring curtains remain open can make a difference, thereby not advertising that the home is unoccupied. And of course, never keep expensive items in view and lock all doors, windows and outbuildings.

You may want to inform a trusted friend, neighbour or family member that you're going on holiday so they can keep an eye on things, but make sure not to broadcast it too freely – there have been growing reports of people being burgled after they advertised their holiday on social media, so although it's tempting, be cautious about who you tell.

"During the summer months many people will leave their homes unoccupied for at least a week, making it an ideal target for opportunistic thieves," said Paul Stokes, head of Products at M&S Bank. "It's important that securing the home becomes a routine part of every household's holiday preparations.

"However, in addition to taking some simple security measures, holidaymakers should also check their home insurance policy and ensure they're familiar with any exclusions or conditions, particularly if they plan to take an extended break. This will help ensure they have adequate cover in place, should the worst happen."

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.