There are two main reasons that holiday home security is vital.
- Firstly, your holiday home isn’t likely to be continuously occupied.
- Secondly it isn’t likely to be located nearby, not even necessarily in your own country.
It’s not just common sense to make sure it’s secure; it’s often a condition of your holiday home insurance.
Follow these tips to make sure your holiday property stays safe and secure even when you’re not there.
Under lock and key
Good security starts with installing sturdy locks on the doors and windows. You should install new locks as soon as you take ownership of the property so you know you’re the only person with keys. For holiday homes in the UK, locks that come under the British Standard, BS3621 (look for the kite symbol) or that are classed as a five-lever mortice deadlock are best. Your holiday home insurer may require your windows to be fitted with key-operated locks in order to insure the contents of your home for over a certain amount, and may require shutters to have internal catches. For even more protection, consider installing security grilles to the ground floor windows.
A burglar alarm may not be an insurance requirement – unless the property and its contents are of a much higher value – but you may wish to install one for your own peace of mind. However, bear in mind that burglar alarms are sometimes activated when there’s nothing wrong, and you may have some upset neighbours if your alarm goes off and you’re not there to switch it off.
If you do install a burglar alarm and you live a long way from your holiday home, you could consider giving a key and the burglar alarm code to someone local whom you trust.
For extra peace of mind, CCTV cameras from a reputable security firm are an effective deterrent and also mean that, if the worst happens, you have recorded evidence. Depending on your appetite for technology, your holiday home security can be integrated with a smart home system, allowing you remote surveillance of security cameras over the internet and/or central locking of all perimeter doors and windows.
If you are renting your property out to holiday makers, make sure you leave clear instructions on how to operate the alarm and what to do if something goes wrong. Encourage your guests to lock windows and doors if they are leaving the property for the day. It may also be worth installing a small safe so that they can lock their valuables away.
Fit motion-activated security lights to the exterior of your property to deter intruders. This is particularly effective if your property is within view of other homes.
Time switches are useful for creating the illusion that your property is occupied, even when it isn’t. Set some lights on time switches so that they come on in the evening, first downstairs and then upstairs, so that it looks as though someone is in. If someone you trust has the key to your property, you could even ask them to pop round and draw curtains from time to time.
Be careful what’s on show
Look through your windows from the outside and assess what can be seen. Don’t leave valuables on show when the property is unoccupied – lock them away in a safe or at least hide them from view when you’re not there. In the garden, ensure tools and ladders are locked away out of sight, as these could be used by an intruder to gain access to your property.
Speak to the neighbours
On the subject of neighbours, it’s worth getting to know the people who live in the neighbourhood and letting them know if your property will be unoccupied for long periods of time.
Leave your contact details with someone so that if anyone spots anything suspicious, they can get in touch with you.
Get some specialist advice from a holiday homes insurance provider – whether your holiday home is in the UK or abroad. Many of those trying to arrange insurance for their holiday home will often contact the insurer who covers their main residence. As a result, holiday home owners are often offered adaptations of a standard home insurance policy which can be very restrictive and inappropriate, particularly when it comes to how long a property can be left unoccupied. In the end, it is better to consult an expert in insurance in this area who can offer policies tailored to suit holiday home owners’ particular needs.