Why is it important to protect your home?
When it comes to crime prevention in your home, it's essential to be proactive and prepared. There are plenty of low-cost ways to employ commonsense preventatives and not inadvertently invite crime into your family home. Whether you're home or away on vacation, considering a few security strategies will give you peace of mind and lower your home insurance rates.
Home invasion statistics
Recent burglary statistics are alarming! Did you know that delaying a home break-in by just four to five minutes will send a thief elsewhere? Criminals are looking for easy targets! And while home crime rates fell during the height of the pandemic, there were still over 10,000 attempted and successful burglaries in Virginia in 2021. And only 6% of stolen property from home theft is recovered. The most stolen property is cash, followed by electronics, gold, guns, jewelry, and medication.
Think you're safer if you're outside city limits? Not so fast! Suburban homes have a 50% higher chance of a break-in. Even scarier, 28% of burglaries happen with someone in their home, and 25% of those result in a violent crime. And two of the most alarming facts are that 65% of robbers know their victims, and more than half of all burglarized homes are targeted again within six weeks.
How to protect your home from theft
Tips for outside your home- lights, camera, action!
One of the most cost-effective ways to protect the outside of your home is to light it up. Burglars love the shadows where they work on entering your home without being seen. Inexpensive exterior lights and lights on motion detectors should be mounted out of reach. But with 65% of home robberies occurring during the day, those trees and shrubs, and even a tall fence that provides you with a bit of privacy also offer a convenient screen for thieves. Keep landscaping trimmed around windows and doors.
Security cameras serve very well to deter home crime at entry points when mounted out of reach. They tell inquiring robbers that someone is watching. A professionally monitored home security system is the most successful deterrent if you're willing to spend a little more. You can offset the cost with the home insurance discount you get for having it.
Resist the temptation to hide a key outside your home. It's one of the simplest things you can do to protect your family and property. A trusted neighbor or family member is a much safer option for those locked-out emergencies. While you're at it, talk to your neighbors about starting a neighborhood watch to help increase the safety and security of your community.
Tips for the inside of your home- windows, doors, and valuables
Pay special attention to doors and windows since they are the entry points to your home and need to be secured and sound. The doors, windows, and frames should be made of strong, durable materials and fit securely. Siding doors can be particularly vulnerable and require special locks and possibly shoring up with a security bar.
It's essential to use high-quality deadbolt locks that lock by the thumb turn on the inside and a pick-resistant key on the outside. Deadbolt locks keyed on both sides can create a dangerous trap in case of a home fire. Similarly, keep windows securely locked but not nailed shut. Windows can be a vital fire escape option for your family when seconds matter.
Have you heard the saying "out of sight, out of mind"? This is so true with theft and valuables in your home. Expensive paintings, home entertainment systems, and other electronics are visible bait to potential thieves looking for an opportunity. It might be worth rearranging furniture or installing window blinds or curtains to shield the view. While garage doors are not easy to break into, leaving them open even while you're home, is an open invitation to take expensive tools, bicycles, and other equipment.
Does home insurance cover burglary?
The great news is that home insurance covers home burglary and theft of your belongings away from home. For example, if your laptop is stolen from your car, your home insurance can cover it! It also covers problems related to home theft, such as the cost of repairing damaged property, such as a broken door or window. You may need extra coverage, called an "endorsement," for specific items that are more expensive- your standard home insurance policy will cover property up to sub-limits. Otherwise, you might only be covered up to the amount of that sub-limit, even if the value of your stolen property exceeds it.
If you have a home insurance claim for theft, immediately report it to the police. Snap detailed pictures and videos of damage to your home and then take action to secure doors and windows. Be sure to document missing or stolen items. Save all receipts for repairs needed to secure your home and file a claim as soon as possible.