10 ways to protect your home when you're on holiday

Many of the most common burglaries are preventable, or at least more easily manageable, by taking a few simple steps. Here are some simple things that you can do before you go away to make your home more secure.

1. Ensure basic door integrity

Many break-ins are carried out by simply smashing a weak door or forcing a vulnerable lock. Ensure you have solid doors - rather than the type with polystyrene filling - and install bolt locks for sliding entrances if possible.

2. Consider an alarm and activate it!

If you have an alarm system, make sure it's properly activated before you leave. If not, at least consider installing an alarm box on the outside of your home as a deterrent.

3. Make use of your community

It's a good idea to have a trusted neighbour look out for your home and report problems while you're away. It's also useful to have someone who can deactivate your alarm if it goes off by mistake (especially if you want to keep on good terms with your other neighbours).

4. Don't post details of your trip on social media

Social network pages are easy for criminals to monitor, so it's a bad idea to be complacent about what you post. Keep the holiday chatter to a minimum until it's time to come home.

5. Check your insurance policy before you travel

If the worst happens, it's essential that you know you're covered by your home insurance. Don't assume anything - with many policies there's a limit on how many days you can leave your home unoccupied and still make a claim.

6. Consider outdoor appearances

Opportunistic burglars will look for signs that a house is unoccupied, so having lights on timers and keeping curtains in a normal position are all good ways of keeping your home that little bit safer.

7. Ask a neighbour to pick up your post

Further to the above point, some burglars will look for signs of vacation by having a peek through the letter box. A pile of unopened letters is an open invitation, so ask a neighbour to go in and pick up your post for you. All they need to do is move inside the house so that it can’t be seen.

8. Report any problems with street lighting

A darkened street can make a home more appealing to burglars. If you're having problems with streetlights in your area, make sure the local authorities know about it so that they can be fixed in good time.

9. Consider using background noise

If you can leave a radio on low without disturbing your neighbours, it's probably a good idea to do so. Even moderate background noise can help deter someone who is scouting out a break-in.

10. Ensure all windows are sealed

Finally, the most basic tip of all is perhaps the most important. Open windows make it incredibly easy for intruders to enter your home, so make sure everything is closed tight before you head out. It's especially important to check if you have children or teenagers, as they tend to be more lax in their security habits.

So there you have it - these few simple steps can give you a lot more peace of mind during your break, leaving you to relax and enjoy yourself.