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Keep Your Home and Business Safe this Holiday Season

As children write lists and Santa checks them twice this time of year, don’t forget the important items on your own list: your home and business! As many as 98 million people travel this time of year, so as you make Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s travel plans, be sure to take the proper steps to protect your properties while you’re away.

Not only do burglars know many people are away this time of year and take advantage of that fact but water and fire damage are also more likely to occur due to festive decor and weather conditions. When you leave your home and business unoccupied, you leave them at risk — but you can help protect these investments when you take the proper steps.

If it takes a burglar more than 4 to 5 minutes to get into one of your properties, he or she will likely move on to the next place. Using these quick and easy strategies to keep your home and business safe can deter burglars and help protect your properties from disaster if you plan to travel this holiday season:

  • Keep travel plans offline. While it’s fun and tempting to update friends and family members about your exciting travel plans, burglars can also use this information. It advertises exactly when you’ll be leaving your home or business empty. By keeping your travel plans offline, potential criminals are less likely to know whether someone is there or not.
  • Use lights. Install bright lights that shine on doors, windows, and any other potential break-in locations. This can deter burglars because it makes it more difficult for them to conceal entry. Also, use indoor light and lamp timers to give the appearance that someone is home in the event someone is casing your home or business.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by. If someone shovels snow and picks up mail, packages, and newspapers, it furthers the appearance that someone is taking care of your properties. When nobody completes these simple tasks, homes and businesses are easy targets for break-ins.
  • Mind holiday lights. Holiday lights — especially on real holiday trees that dry out over time — are huge residential fire dangers. Make sure to unplug all lights, heaters, and any extra electronics to help protect your properties safe from fire while you’re away.
  • Keep pipes from freezing. If your home and business are in a cold climate area and you’ll be leaving them unattended for an extended period of time, make sure to disconnect all garden and outdoor hoses, keep interior temperatures at least 68 degrees, and open cabinet doors in front of pipes so heat can circulate to prevent freezing and, thus, bursting.
  • Get proper coverage. Despite your best efforts, catastrophes and losses can still happen. Make sure you properly ensure your home and business in the event something happens while you’re away. It not only offers financial protection but also gives you peace of mind to enjoy your trip.

When you’re planning your holiday travels, make sure you’ve properly protected your investments so they’re just as you left them upon your return.