Preparing your home for a long holiday

Your bags are packed and your flights are booked – but have you thought about the things you’re leaving behind?

Preparing your home before a long holiday is essential to ensuring it’s safe and secure. Here are the things you should be doing if you’re leaving your home unattended for more than a few days at a time:

Use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service

A huge pile of mail at your front door is a tell-tale sign that you’re not at home. Ask a neighbour to pick up your mail or use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service. It will hold your mail and parcels for up to 66 days – your mail and identity will be protected and you won’t have to worry about letters building up on your doorstep.

Cancel regular deliveries

If you receive any regular deliveries such as a daily newspaper, be sure to cancel or hold this service while you won’t be at home. Just like unattended mail, if you have a stack of newspapers on your doorstep or drive it’s a good indicator that you’re not at home.

Leave curtains open

It may seem counterintuitive, but leaving your blinds shut for weeks at a time tells people you’re not at home. Instead, leave curtains open or partially open and make sure all your valuables are safely out of sight so you don’t attract any unwanted attention.

Install a light timer

Motion sensor lights outside the home and a light timer inside will help give the impression you’re home and the house is occupied. Instead of setting the same lights on and off at the same time every night, set one or two timers to vary the light and make it look more authentic.

Mind your sockets

Any appliances that aren’t in use should be turned off at the socket to avoid a power surge and reduce the risk of fire. Double check your cooker, oven or stovetop to make sure everything is turned off.

Think about heating

If you’re away in the height of British Summer, this might not be a concern, but if you’ll be away at any point in the year where there’s a reasonable risk of frost you need to think about your heating. If your pipes freeze or burst because your home was too cold and the heat was turned off it could impact your ability to make a claim. Put a heat timer on to keep your home secure if you’ll be away in winter.

Lock windows and doors

Check and double check that windows and doors are closed and locked. Though it seems common sense, leaving a window open makes your home more vulnerable to burglars and even vermin. The last thing you want is to come home and discover a bird living in your bedroom because you forgot to shut the window.

Check your insurance

Most home insurance policies extend cover while your home is unoccupied for a certain period of time, but it’s worth double checking to make sure you still have cover if you’re gone for several weeks or months at a time.

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