Home burglary rates climb during the holidays, and it’s no surprise. Many people have left their homes to spend time with friends and family out of town, or else are away from their homes for long periods while shopping, running errands and socializing. Keep burglars away from your property to avoid lost valuables, heartbreak, and an unwanted home insurance claim.
Install a Home Security System
As an experienced Alberta home insurance provider, we at Lane’s know that burglars keep getting more and more savvy. Home security systems have been around for many years, and burglars have learned ways around them. To truly protect your home from a burglar cutting a line and disabling your system, you need a wireless connection between your control panel and the monitoring center. Wireless alarm system monitoring is safest and most reliable. Security systems that allow you to monitor activity in your home while you’re away from an internet-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone provide an added layer of security. Some even allow you to choose friends or family members to be notified when your alarm is triggered. Also choose a system with “crash and smash” protection, so someone can’t break into your home, destroy the control panel and deactivate your system.
Choosing the right security system might also result in a discount on your home insurance. Ask your broker for more information!
Additional Tips for Deterring Burglars
- Don’t post your plans on social media. It seems like it should be “safe” to let your friends know that you and your family are headed to the sunny south for a vacation on social media (after all, you are careful about your privacy settings). But you don’t know about your friends’ sharing policies online (are all of their posts public?), and you also don’t know about “friends” they may have that are specifically watching for someone to admit they won’t be in their homes for several days. Similarly, even if you are just at a party or get-together, it’s still not wise to point out your absence. Wait until you are back home to post pics of the fun you were having.
- Purchase a safe. Although you may think you have your jewellery tucked away in a great spot where nobody will look, keep in mind that burglars are well aware of common (and uncommon) hiding spots. For items of high value, we recommend a safe. The longer a burglar stays in your home, the higher their chances of being caught, so it’s unlikely they will bother to try to “crack” your safe.
- Use motion detectors and timers. Motion detectors are a great way to surprise unwanted guests on your property. Place them high and out of reach so they can’t be disabled. Also place several lights on randomly patterned timers so that if anyone is watching, they will not be able to detect a pattern. There are also devices that simulate the flickering of a television set. These are definitely handy for making it seem like someone is home and comfortably watching their favourite show.
- Stop your mail and keep your walk shovelled. If you still have home delivery for your mail, put a hold on delivery until you return. This is easily done through the Canada Post website. Also see if you can perhaps hire a local teenager or professional company to take care of your shovelling while you are gone. Not only will it appear that you haven’t gone anywhere, it will also help you avoid a fine for failing to clear your sidewalks and pathways.
Make Sure to Have Your Home Checked While You Are Away to Keep Up Your Coverage
By and large, most home insurance companies don’t come right out and tell their policy-holders that they have certain responsibilities with regard to notifications prior to holidays and vacations. Instead, they place the responsibility for understanding the terms, conditions, limitations, and restrictions of the policy square on the consumer’s shoulders, which means you need to read the fine print. Ask your Lane’s insurance broker about the specific terms of your policy, or look for a warranty that contains language such as: “we do not insure damage caused by [X] or [Y]…if the policy holder has been absent from the premises for at least [Z] consecutive days.”
Have a competent person visit or enter your property on a regular basis during your absence to make sure nothing is amiss. This person could also pick up your mail and shovel your walk for you. Also make sure to turn off your water supply and drain all faucets, fixtures, and plumbing of any water. Ensure there is no possibility that continued utilities services creates a risk of fire or other damages.
Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost Home Insurance
Many people aren’t aware of the difference between an actual cash value or replacement cost policy for your home’s contents. It can make a big difference if you unfortunately find yourself the victim of a burglary.
Actual cash value (ACV) refers to the current market value of items in your home. It is calculated by taking the item’s original purchase price, then factoring in any subsequent appreciation or depreciation.
Replacement cost differs from ACV in that it reflects the amount of money you would have to spend to replace a damaged or stolen item. Thus, depreciation does not factor in, but appreciation does.
Guaranteed replacement cost is a specialized type of coverage that ensures that your insurance provider will cover all costs associated with restoring lost or damaged property, even if the value of that property exceeds your policy’s coverage limit.
You should also be aware of the special limits on your policy. These are added protections for specific items that are covered separately due to their potentially high value. For example, if you own expensive jewellery or rare artwork that is worth more than your coverage limit, you will have to insure it under a “special limit” add-on. Otherwise, you risk being left to absorb the difference between its value and your policy limit out of pocket.
Always have an up-to-date home inventory on hand. This will greatly simplify the claims process should the unthinkable happen. It is essential to keep your insurance company up to date on anything happening with your property. Perform annual reviews of your house, land, outbuildings, and belongings to guarantee your coverage accurately reflects your situation.
Trust Lane’s for Your Alberta Home Insurance Coverage
At Lane’s, you will be partnered with a specialist who will be your personal contact for all things home insurance. Even though we may not be your provider, we are always your source for good information and no obligation quotes.