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6 tips to help prevent home burglary

One of the best ways to save on homeowners insurance is to stay claims-free. And securing your house from burglars is a great place to start. Here are some helpful home-security tips that shouldn't be kept under lock and key.

Property insurance from your homeowners policy

One of most homeowners' biggest fears is a burglar breaking in and ransacking their belongings.

But with homeowners coverage, you don't have to face it alone. Your property insurance (or contents insurance) will help replace or reimburse you for items pilfered from your pad in a burglary. If your home's walls are breached, it's nice to know you have an extra line of defense to get your life back on track.

How to secure your house

Just because you have property insurance doesn't mean you ever want to use it. That's why it pays to spend some time preventing home burglary. Keeping crooks out of your home to begin with can help you avoid a trying ordeal, stay claims-free, and rack up homeowners insurance discounts down the road.

1. Master the basics

Most homeowners these days have a good deal of common sense (we hope) when it comes to basic home security. But well-worn tips — having deadbolt locks on your doors, closing and locking windows, leaving multiple lights on when away (preferably on a random timer), installing a security alarm, remembering to put heavy tools away after use — always bear mentioning.

2. Don't broadcast your absence

Short of a zombie apocalypse, nothing can really keep us from leaving our houses. But while we do have to venture away from home, we don't have to shout our plans from the rooftop. You probably know by now that announcing vacations on Facebook or Twitter is a bad idea. But there are other ways to keep your whereabouts on the down-low, too.

If you have an answering machine or voice mail, for instance, the message should never announce that you're gone. You should also avoid leaving notes on your door for family or delivery people about where you are or when you'll be back. Finally, if going out of town, put a hold on your mail; a giant stack of letters is an invitation to burglars.

3. Keep your stuff a secret

Thieves don't play guessing games when it comes to which houses they enter. If they see something shiny and expensive in one house, that's the one they're likely to go for. Here are a few ways to help ensure your stuff doesn't catch a burglar's eye:

  • Install blinds or drapes that obscure valuables from sight
  • Cut up cardboard boxes from expensive purchases like TVs and computers before they hit the curb
  • Tuck lawnmowers, snowblowers, and bikes in the garage

4. Look into advanced technology

Innovations like security cameras and motion detectors were once seen as luxuries. Not anymore. Today, thanks to the internet, wireless devices, and cheaper technology, setting up your own spy camera or motion sensor isn't far-fetched. And if you're really feeling futuristic, you can look into digital locks, which require a smart key or pass code and are extremely difficult to pick.

5. Keep your yard in shape

Trim your shrubs or bushes so burglars don't have somewhere to hide. And keep tree branches from getting long enough for thieves to use them to climb onto your roof.

6. Befriend the neighbors

Get those chocolate-chip cookies baking! Making pals with the neighbors is one of the easiest ways to get an extra set of eyes on your place and a helpful alert if anything goes awry.

Do you need a home inventory?

Despite your best efforts, sadly, sometimes home burglaries happen. If they do, you'll want to make sure you have enough property insurance to cover all your belongings.

Figure out how much protection you need by doing a home inventory. You can also grab a free homeowners quote to see how you can insure your hard-earned assets and treasured belongings.

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