Locks, Camera, Discounts: 10 Home Security Tips to Protect Your Home
December 1, 2023
Your home is more than just a building: it’s the safe haven where you and your family live and create memories every day. It also contains your prized possessions, including irreplaceable keepsakes and valuables—which makes it all the more important to prevent your home’s security from being compromised. The last thing you want is a thief setting their sights on your home and belongings.
Home theft claims cost insurance companies millions of dollars each year, which can lead to higher insurance premiums for everyone. In fact, according to SGI Canada, a residential break-in happens every 90 seconds in Canada. So what can you do to make sure your home doesn’t become a target?
While there are always going to be uncertainties in life, there are a number of simple measures you can take to protect your home from intruders. A bit of time, effort, and funds invested into preventative measures can have a big impact—and save you from a greater cost in the long run. To help you get started, here are our top 10 tips to secure your home:
1. Lock your doors and windows.
It might seem like a given, but keep your doors locked—even if you’re home. Once you get into the habit of always locking your doors, you’ll be less likely to forget whenever you leave the house, and you can rest assured that your home always has that added layer of security. Additionally, don’t forget to lock up your garage, shed, and any other entrance points to your home.
Similarly, make sure your windows are locked and secured from the inside and out. If you have any sliding doors or windows on your ground floor and basement levels, consider placing a security bar inside to prevent them from being able to be opened from the outside, even if they become unlocked.
2. Invest in a home security system.
You might be inclined to dismiss the thought of installing a fancy home security system if you’re on a budget. But think of it this way: having those added defences on your side can make all the difference if your home is targeted, saving you from the financial and emotional toll of a break-in.
The good news? Gone are the days when home security systems were luxuries only accessible to the wealthy—nowadays, there are options available at a variety of price points, from remote app-monitored cameras to automatic door alarms with key codes. Do your own research on the home security systems out there, and you’ll be sure to find one that suits your needs.
Whether your security system is state-of-the-art or no-frills, just having one in place is one of the best ways to protect your home from theft. In fact, even posting an anti-theft security brand decal inside your front window can help discourage unwanted visitors. And as a bonus, your insurance company might even offer you a discount for having a home security system installed. Connect with your broker to learn more.
3. Keep your valuables out of sight.
Take a walk around the perimeter of your home, peer into the windows, and take note of what’s within your line of sight. Try to keep expensive electronics and other valuables hidden from view to avoid tempting potential criminals—and don’t forget to keep discarded television, video game systems, or computer boxes hidden when you put out the recycling as well.
Consider storing valuable jewelry, documents, and sentimental items inside a fireproof safety deposit box for extra security. Keep your blinds and curtains closed at night and when you leave the house to prevent anyone from scoping out your belongings and the layout of your home.
4. Be mindful of spare keys.
It might seem convenient, but hiding a spare key outside your home is a huge security risk—especially if it’s in an obvious place, like inside the mailbox, underneath the doormat, a plant pot, or other patio furniture. The last thing you want is an intruder getting ahold of the key, allowing them to gain access to your home with no fuss at all. Instead, consider leaving a spare copy of your key with a trusted friend or relative who lives nearby. But if you can’t avoid keeping a spare key on the property for whatever reason, use a heavy-duty combination key lock box, and keep it well hidden from plain view.
The more spare keys you have, the bigger the chance that one of them could end up in the hands of the wrong person. Don’t make more copies of your key than necessary, and if a set does end up lost or stolen, play it safe by getting your locks changed right away.
If you want to take security one step further and eliminate keys altogether, look into a keyless entry system, which can only be unlocked using a code that can be changed as needed. These systems also come with apps that allow you to remotely lock or unlock your door and will send you a notification every time the door is opened.
5. Clean up the landscape.
Believe it or not, a little landscaping can go a long way. Trees and other greenery can make perfect hiding spots for criminals waiting for an opportunity to strike. That’s why we recommend trimming larger plants and cleaning up the areas immediately surrounding any ground floor or basement windows or doors.
6. Install outdoor lights.
Keeping the outside of your property well-lit is a great deterrent against thieves in the night; it’ll make all activity surrounding your home more visible to potential witnesses. And if you’d rather not leave your lights on all night, consider installing motion-activated lights outdoors.
7. Make sure your home looks occupied.
If your home shows obvious signs of being unoccupied, there’s a higher chance of it being targeted by criminals. Anytime you’re planning to head out of town, take a few measures to ensure that your home still looks lived-in while you’re away.
Get wi-fi enabled smart lightbulbs that you can control remotely, and turn them on at the same time you’d normally turn them on if you were at home. If you’re away for an extended amount of time, get a neighbour or friend to house-sit occasionally, take your mail inside, and depending on the season, mow the lawn or shovel the driveway.
8. Don’t let deliveries pile up.
As an extension to our previous point: don’t let your mailbox overflow and become a clear sign to others that you’re not home. Having parcels sitting out on your doorstep (especially if they’re branded) also puts you at risk of package theft. If you have a vacation coming up, pause any subscriptions, and avoid ordering any packages that could arrive while you’re away.
If you won’t be home for several months, consider setting up mail forwarding to your temporary address or a trusted friend to avoid missing out on any important notices while you’re gone.
9. Avoid oversharing on social media.
Thieves are known to be opportunistic, and an empty home filled with valuables is an ideal target. Try to avoid posting photos of your most valuable items, as well as sharing every moment of your vacation in real-time; it could alert those with ill intentions that your home is sitting vacant. While it might seem overly cautious, you never know who could be watching— especially if you have a public social media account.
10. Get the right coverage for your peace of mind.
No matter how prepared you are, there will always be factors outside of your control. That’s why it’s so important to have the right Home Insurance policy in your back pocket, so that you and your family have the comfort of knowing your assets are protected even if the unexpected happens.
By remaining diligent and taking the precautions we’ve listed, you’ll be more likely to avoid any theft claims, which will keep your insurance costs low in the long run. Plus, you could see additional discounts for being claims-free, as well as for having anti-theft systems in place. For more information, connect with your broker.
We know that home theft isn’t something anyone wants to think about preparing for. But PROLINK is here to help you arm yourself with the right precautions—including the right insurance policy. Our dedicated team will answer any questions you may have, offer you personalized risk advice, and give you tips to protect your home. We’ll also survey the market on your behalf to find the right coverage, from the right insurance provider, at the right price. With over 4 decades in business and a wide network of over 30 insurers, we’ve seen it all, and we have the know-how to get you where you want to go.
To learn more, connect with PROLINK today!
PROLINK’s blog posts are general in nature. They do not take into account your personal objectives or financial situation and are not a substitute for professional advice. The specific terms of your policy will always apply. We bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or timeliness of any external content.