Leaving on holiday? Follow this advice from Allianz Global Assistance and protect your home while you’re away

2 months before D-Day (departure)

  • Don’t talk openly about what you’ll be doing over the holidays. And if you must talk about it, make sure it’s only among close friends and family. Do not post your departure on Facebook, and while you’re away, only send messages and photos to your closest friends. 
  • Don’t give the impression that your home is empty. You want it to appear lived in and occupied, so start right now by looking for someone you can trust to come and open the shutters, collect the mail, water the garden, or tend to the plants on the balcony.
  • Improve your home’s security by thinking about the best places to install reinforced locks, alarms, steel security doors or cameras. Burglars can be more or less reckless or daring, but in any case, realising when you return that someone has broken into your home is a terrible thing to discover. 

1 month before D-Day (departure)

  • You might want to consider hiring a house sitter. They can usually be found by registering with an association. A qualified person comes to stay in your home while you are away, and can even be contracted to do small jobs and take care of your pets.  
  • Begin to consume what’s left in your freezer so that you can turn off the electric meter on the day you leave. 
  • Install a digital timer that can be programmed to turn on one or two main lights at key hours during the day or evening.  

1 week before departure

  • Let the local sheriff’s office or police station know that you are leaving. This will incite the different patrol officers to specifically check on your home or apartment building while you are away.
  • If you cannot find anyone to collect your mail, let the post office know so they can suspend delivery until you return. 
  • Set up an automatic watering system for your plants and/or garden. 
  • Ask a neighbour if they wouldn’t mind parking their car in front of your garage or home to give the impression that someone is there.  

Departure Day 

  • Empty, clean and unplug the refrigerator.
  • Unplug all of your electrical appliances or better yet, shut off the electric meter. But be aware that if you do this, then the light simulator will not work, and if the telephone line is not PSTN (full unbundling), the alarm system or video connected to the ADSL Box will not work either. 
  • Shut off the water
  • Empty the dog and/or cat dishes
  • Throw away used coffee filters
  • Take out the garbage
  • Leave a set of keys with a trusted friend or neighbour

So, before you close the shutters on your cherished Victorian, your apartment facing the Eiffel Tower, your little cottage, Brooklyn loft or Spanish villa, and even if your departure is improvised, spend a few thoughtful minutes and use some common sense. This can save you time, money and headaches, and limit the risks of damage or ill-intentioned visits while you’re away enjoying your holiday!