While most Albertans love winter, sometimes we just need to get away to warmer climes. But as you focus on that sunny destination, it’s also important to think about home—to ensure it’s protected while you’re away. “Review your insurance policy, so that you know what you’re covered for if the unexpected happens,” says Karen McDougall of AMA Insurance. And then consider these additional precautions.
LOCK IT UP
Property crime in Alberta increased almost 60 percent from 2013 to 2017, so it’s never a waste of effort to double-check your locks. Then insert a sturdy wood or metal dowel into sliding doors and windows to ensure they can’t be lifted off their tracks. And remember: Thieves won’t hesitate to search your property for a hidden house key. Leave it with a trusted friend or neighbour instead.
SET YOUR SYSTEM
Smartphone-based security systems are popular for keeping tabs on our homes. But the cameras and sensors need strong, reliable Wi-Fi; make sure everything’s properly connected before leaving. If your system is centrally monitored, tell the company you’ll be away and provide an emergency contact. AMA Insurance offers premium discounts for homes with centrally monitored security, fire and/or water alarm systems.
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GET SOME HELP
Create the illusion that you’re home by installing light timers (bonus points for varying the on-off times). And ask a neighbour to collect mail, shovel the drive/walkway, and open and close blinds. To meet your home insurance requirements, someone may need to check your home each day you’re away—ask your insurer before you leave. Also, turn off your home’s water supply and drain your pipes, especially prior to a winter getaway.
AVOID STATUS UPDATES
It may be tempting to plaster Instagram with vacation photos, but not everyone is creeping your feed to “like” your first surfing lesson. Criminals monitor social media sites to see who might be away from home. Even if you have your privacy settings locked tight, there’s no guarantee that a disreputable web prowler can’t see that you’re away via the less-secure accounts of unsuspecting friends and followers.
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DON’T SHOW OFF
Those boxes you left out after Christmas—you know, the ones for your new TV and high-end camera? They’re part of the reason insurance companies see an uptick in claims following the holidays. Thieves look for boxes to see which homes have new big-ticket items. Cut up the packaging and put it somewhere out of sight until recycling pickup, especially if you’ll be away for some post-Christmas down time.
WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
For more information on home insurance and to get a free quote, visit AMAInsurance.ca/Home or reach out to one of our advisors at 1-800-615-5897.