MAINTAINING A HOME
Affordable ways to make your home more secure
Improving the safety of your home doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. We’ve put together a handful of cheap (and often free!) ways to make your house less appealing to a potential thief. Plus, none of these ideas requires expensive or complicated fitouts. So even if you’re renting, you should be able to apply most of these home security tips without getting in trouble with your landlord.
7 (cheap) home security tips
1. Display security signs and warnings
Most thieves are looking for the easiest home to raid, so ‘beware of the dog’ and surveillance warning signs can make them think twice. The best part? You don’t necessarily have to have a dog or high-tech security system to benefit from these signs.
2. Plant bushes under first floor windows
If your home has easy-to-access windows, planting some prickly bushes can discourage unwelcome visitors from slipping through. It’s important that you keep them trimmed though, not only for aesthetics but to ensure they don’t get wild enough for burglars to hide in. Around 50-90cm in height should do the trick.
3. Store your garage door remote safely
Where do you keep your garage door remote? Like many people, you might store it in your car, ready for easy access when you’re coming and going. This can be a tempting target for anyone who breaks into your car. If you use a GPS unit, or have anything with your address on it in your car (for example, your rego or insurance details), it can be incredibly easy for a thief to find your home.
Even outside of this scenario, many households with multiple cars leave vehicles parked in their driveway with a spare garage remote ripe for the taking. It’s much safer not to tempt thieves. Instead attach your garage remote to your car keys or take it with you when you go.
4. Secure your sliding doors
Sliding door locks can be quite easy to pick. Luckily, they can also be simple and inexpensive to reinforce. All it takes is a sturdy bit of wood or metal cut to size and placed in the rail the door glides along, stopping it in its tracks.
5. Be extra vigilant when you’re on holidays
When you’re away, it can be easy for a savvy thief to identify your home as a target. Thankfully, you can take simple steps to prevent this – like pausing your newspaper delivery and asking a trusted neighbour to collect your mail, put your bins out (and bring them back in!) and even move your car. Alternatively, you can ask someone to housesit.
6. Be smart about where you hide your spare key
To prevent those panicky, ‘oh no I locked my keys inside’ moments, many people hide a spare key somewhere outside their home. Making this spot too obvious, like under the pot plant near your front door, and you essentially invite thieves into your home.
Instead, consider leaving a spare with a trusted neighbour, family member or friend. Or, if you’d prefer to have it on hand, invest in a sturdy key safe that you can position somewhere smart (and hidden). If it comes with short screws to attach to, say, a fence post, consider buying longer and stronger screws. That way, thieves won’t be able to easily remove it, break into it and come back later.
7. Protect your Wi-Fi network
A vulnerable Wi-Fi connection can leave you open to hackers accessing your personal information and data. Luckily, there are simple (and free) ways you can keep your Wi-Fi on lock down:
- Create a strong password – ‘Password123’ isn’t going to cut it anymore. Leaving it as the default password that’s written underneath the router isn’t always the safest option, either – in fact it’s best practice to not have your password written down anywhere.
- Enable WPA or WPA5 encryption.
- Rename your Wi-Fi network – the default SSID (the name given to your wireless network) is usually the brand name of your router. This can give hackers more information to try and get into your Wi-Fi. Change the name to something random (without using other identifiers like, for example, your apartment number). The longer the name, the harder it usually is for hackers to attack, too.
- Enable your router’s built-in firewall.
If any of these suggestions sound a bit too technical to do yourself, your Internet provider should be able to help.
Relax knowing your home is protected with Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance
It’s great to have home security measures in place to prevent break-ins, but sometimes even the best security won’t stop thieves. At Suncorp, we offer three levels of home insurance coverage, to help you find a policy that best suits your needs.