Maintaining a home
10 tips to protect your home and contents
9 April 2018
Most Australians will know the phrase 'your home is your castle’ made famous by Darryl Kerrigan. There is a reason this resonates with so many Australians – our homes are where we feel safe and where we keep our treasures (whether they have value or not). That’s why it’s important to protect your castle and the contents inside it.
Getting Home and Contents Insurance is easy, but that doesn’t mean you should make it easy for thieves to help themselves to your belongings or leave your home exposed to disaster. We have accumulated the best practical tips around that will help you protect your possessions and reduce the risk of needing to make an insurance claim. Since making a claim means you often have to pay an excess, and a claim may impact your future premiums, it may be worth investing in some of these tactics.
1. Evaluate security weak spots and hazards
Shortly after moving in to your new home, take a walk around your house and look for any ways to access your house that may not be immediately visible. These are the entry points a burglar will look for, so it can help to think like a burglar.
Depending on which kind of insurance you have, it’s not just burglars that are a threat to your home. Natural elements such as trees may result in damage to your property, so make sure to inspect the stability of them and contact your council if you have concerns.
2. Install key-operated deadlocks
You will notice one question pop up when you are completing a quote online for home and contents insurance – whether external doors are secured with a deadlock. The reason for this is because a deadlock is stronger than a door with a chain-lock and offers your home much more protection from intruders.
Having this feature on your external doors may limit the chances of thieves breaking into your home, which reduces the likelihood of needing to make an insurance claim.
3. Protect all targets
External parts of your home such as sheds and garages are prime targets for thieves as well as being the main storage place for hazardous and flammable materials. Ensure that these spaces are locked up tight and hazards are stored safely and securely.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
You don’t have to be a seasoned criminal to take a peek over someone’s fence and notice something new and shiny. Items such as bicycles, gardening equipment and garden statues that are not secured properly can vanish without warning.
5. Home security
This is another question that will be asked while completing a Home and Contents Insurance quote. Depending on the level of security you have – motion detectors, CCTV cameras, intruder alarms or monitored alarms – will incur various levels of cost and you should make a personal decision as to what it will cost against what your covered for.
6. Motion-sensor lighting
Motion-sensor lighting is a great deterrent for burglars and intruders. Though it may sound high-tech and expensive, the truth is that you can purchase a DIY kit from your local hardware store at little cost. Of course, you can hire an electrician to come out and install something of (usually) higher quality and power.
7. Lock the windows
Similar to deadbolts on external doors, this will come up when getting a quote for Home and Contents Insurance as it does greatly increase the security of your home. If a burglar fails to get through your front door, it is fair to assume a window will be their next point of attack. Again, investing in these security precautions can reduce the risk of a break in, and reduce the chances of you having to make a claim.
8. Security screens
Breaking through a deadlock without power tools is almost impossible to the common person– but there is often a weak-point, that is the door itself. Historically doors were made of heavy oak or a similarly strong wood, many front doors now are either made of glass or a lighter wood so you don’t have to drag on it to close.
Depending on what front, back or side doors you may have, it may benefit you to have an extra layer of security. There are security doors available on the market that are almost impenetrable and come at a reasonable cost.
9. Keys and clickers
Losing your keys is not only an inconvenience in the short term, but if your keys turn up in the wrong hands, it can cost you a lot more.
There have been reports of criminals stealing keys and remote controls for electronic garage doors to gain access to properties. Make sure you know where your keys and clickers are at all times, and if you can, never put your address on your keys.
10. Know your neighbours
Whether you live in an apartment building or a leafy suburb, keeping vigilant and informing your neighbours of suspicious activity can prevent a crime from happening. It will also create a sense of solidarity and community where you can learn more about your neighbourhood.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding this product.