Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.
The clocks went back last Sunday night and we are all noticing the darker evenings. Sadly statistics show that burglaries increase by 20% at this time of year and, according to the Halifax, the average cost to the affected home is £1746. Protect yourself from even greater costs by comparing your home insurance quotes to make sure you have sufficient cover at a competitive price.
Many people will not be aware that October is National Home Security Month. This is a campaign to encourage householders to do all they can to deter the criminals and lessen their chances of being a victim of burglary. The Metropolitan police relaunched Operation Bumblebee - an anti-burglary campaign - in 2009 in response to a hike in break-ins at residential properties.
These organisations and many others offer advice on how you can make your home more secure. Taking steps to protect your belongings and your property doesn't need to cost a lot of money. Some precautions are common sense.
Lock all your doors and windows when you leave the property. Check them all before you leave and don't leave window keys in the locks. A burglar has only got to smash the glass to get in easily. Make sure your exit doors are sturdy and you have adequate locks.
Noise is off-putting. If you haven't got a dog that will bark, an alarm is the next best thing. Be aware that most criminals can easily tell when an alarm isn't real and make sure if you buy one that it is properly installed. Gravel paths and driveways can also be a deterrent.
Make it difficult. If you have a side gate make sure it is locked and bolted. Do not leave handy objects such as recycling bins or garden ornaments out that can be used as steps to climb over. Installing trellis above your gate is unpopular with burglars as it snaps easily. Prickly bushes can even put a would-be thief off!
Hide your valuables from view. Leaving curtains open to display televisions, games consoles or music systems is like a shop window to a burglar. They don't need any more encouragement! Do not leave keys on display (particularly within reach of your letterbox) as fast-striking thieves will snatch your keys and your car with them. All within a couple of minutes.
Use your lights! Burglars do not like the light. Hence why the winter evenings are their busy time. Installing motion sensor lights will deter them from targeting your property. Within your home invest in a timer that will turn lights on and off for you so it looks like someone is home whilst you are away.
Don't forget the outdoors Your shed may contain more valuables than you realise and the tools it contains can often assist a burglar in gaining entry to your main property. Therefore it is important that the locks on your shed are up to the task.
Single out your most valuable items Use UV markers to identify items. You can use paint or etching for outdoor items. Take photographs and note down serial numbers as it can help with identifying items should they be found. You can also register your valuables with immobilise.com.
Unfortunately it is only when we are the victim of something like a burglary or other traumatic experience that we realise how important it is to have the correct insurance. If you are looking to update or transfer your home insurance it is a good idea to compare home insurance to get a good deal on the right policy for you.
Image courtesy of: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at freedigitalphotos.net