Those heading off on a staycation or short break are being advised to take a number of steps in advance of leaving their homes to minimise the risk of burglary or other unwanted occurrences such as vandalism, leaks or fire hazards happening in their absence.
Cathie Shannon, Director of General Insurance at Brokers Ireland, said those taking even short breaks need to plan ahead to minimize risks and to make sure their insurance cover is adequate and not compromised.
“We’ve seen many examples of people broadcasting their holiday plans on social media to detrimental effect, sadly, as the Gardai will attest to,” she said.
“It should be an absolute no no, because you’re effectively alerting potential burglars to your absence.”
She also advised holidaymakers to check their alarm systems, both smoke alarms and burglar alarms, to ensure they are working and properly activated.
“If you have automatic light switches set them to operate in accordance with your normal schedule,” she advised.
Other tips include:
- Ensure all windows and doors are securely locked
- Cancel all deliveries
- Consider asking a neighbour to collect your post
- Store away securely any garden furniture or heaters
- Unplug all electrical appliances
- Consider turning off the water supply but at minimum, check the areas under sinks for any leaks.
Ms Shannon said owners of what are termed in the insurance industry as ‘unoccupied properties’ may compromise their insurance cover, unless they alert their insurers in advance.
“In insurance terms, an unoccupied property is generally, although not exclusively, defined as a property, whether residential or commercial, which is vacant for 30 days or longer.
“The approach taken by insurers depends on the circumstances and you may need to complete a questionnaire. It’s important that people are aware of this, and that confirmation is sought that the insurance cover on the property will not be affected,” she said.
Brokers will be in a position to advise on this and Brokers Ireland is advising consumers and businesses immediately to alert their Insurance Broker when a building becomes vacant.
“The thinking tends to be that should a problem arise in an unoccupied premises, be it from fire, water or whatever, damage tends to be more extensive and, therefore, more costly to remediate,” she concluded.