Let’s face it, no one wants to file an insurance claim. To lessen the likelihood take the following steps BEFORE you go on vacation.

1.  TURN OFF YOUR WATER.  Use the valve where the pipe from the street enters the house (down in the basement). Many expensive losses occur when water leaks from a broken hot water heater or toilet during a week long vacation.

2.  Stop your paper and mail.  Full mailboxes and newspapers strewn around the top of the driveway are a sign to burglars that no one is home.

3.  Install smart timers in several rooms of your house.  For around $8 a piece you can buy timers that can be programmed to turn your lights on and off throughout the evening.  The more rooms with these devices, the less likely burglars will target your house.

4.  Don’t leave messages on your home answering service and other social media announcing that you are away.  Just the mention on your Facebook page that you are on a long anticipated vacation could help burglars target your home.  Ambiguous messages like “I’m unable to take your call” or an “out of office” email stating that your email is not responding” is better.

5.  Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your house when you are away. Give them your contact information while you are away.

6.  Notify local police that you will be away and ask them to step up patrols past your house.

7.  Make sure the grass is cut, and your potted plants are watered before you go away.  High grass or wilted  plants could indicate to potential thieves that you are away

8.  LOCK all your windows and doors.  Many people forget this simple step.  (How many times have you opened a back window and come back a couple days later to find you forgot about it?)

9.  Unplug expensive electronics.

10.  Store your valuables off your property–preferably in a safe deposit box.