Do you fret over whether you’ve locked all of your windows and doors at night, or worry about being burgled while on holiday?

You can ease that stress – and become less of a target for burglars – by taking a few simple steps to boost your home’s security.

1. Install a burglar alarm that is approved by your insurer – and use it! It’s also worth checking that your alarm is approved by recognised industry bodies like the NSI and SSAIB before you choose.

2. Make sure your doors have the right locks - mortice locks add extra protection, and it’s wise to check that they conform to British Standards (BS3621) by looking for the Kitemark on the key. If you’re unsure, ask a qualified locksmith.

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3. Don’t forget your windows! These also need approved locks with keys. Remember that if you have window locks, you need to use them. A claim on your contents insurance could be invalid if the locks weren’t in use.

4. Look after your keys and other valuables. It might sound obvious, but don’t leave them in sight, and definitely don’t leave a key under a mat or plant pot outside! Burglars are usually on the hunt for items that are high in value and portable, so remember to put things like laptops and tablets away after using them – rather than leaving them on the coffee table where they can be seen from outside.   

5. Be clever with lighting. Outdoor security lights can help to put burglars off, while motion-sensitive lights can be a good deterrent, as no burglar wants to be exposed in the act. The higher you install them, the larger the area they will cover. Just be careful that they aren’t a nuisance to your neighbours.

Neighbourhood Watch

6. Join your Neighbourhood Watch scheme – it’s an initiative designed to bring communities together to help improve the security of their local areas. Joining your local group will allow you swap security tips and share information about unusual goings-on in your neighbourhood – and it may help to prevent a burglary before it happens.

7. A contents insurance policy with a suitable level of cover can provide peace of mind and cover the cost of your possessions should you find yourself a victim of theft. If you’re not sure what’s covered by a contents insurance policy, think about the belongings that you’d take with you if you were to move.

Furniture, clothes and electrical appliances, such as your TV or fridge freezer, are generally covered as standard, though there are exceptions. Portable computers and individual high value items may require an additional premium. It’s always worth checking with your insurer to find out exactly what your policy covers.

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8. Keep your home secure when you’re away. If you have a holiday planned, of course you’ll want to share your excitement on social media, but resist the temptation if you can – as you never know who could see it! It is, however, a good idea to let your neighbours know about the trip, so they can keep an eye out for unexpected visitors while you’re away. Don’t forget to set your burglar alarm, and use timer switches to turn your lamps off at intervals, to create the illusion that someone’s at home.

9. An afternoon’s gardening is great exercise, but don’t forget to save a bit of energy to tidy those tools up at the end of the day. Electrical equipment such as lawnmowers and power washers are all attractive to a burglar, so keep these safely locked away and out of sight once you’re done with them. Children's toys such as trampolines are also attractive to burglars, so be sure to secure these too.

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10. Choose the right plants to put burglars off. If you are updating your garden this summer, think about which plants you choose, and where you locate them, as they can provide clever burglar deterrents. Trellises, for example, are difficult to climb and too weak to support the weight of a person, so consider topping your fences with these. Large, bushier plants can also provide an uncomfortable landing for any burglar trying to scale your gate or fence.

Tips from Mark Hallam at Swinton Insurance.

Do you think your home is safe? What do you do to deter burglars when you go on holiday? Let us know in the Comments below.