Last Updated on April 25, 2016 by Mark Lavington
Holiday homeowners often face a unique set of circumstances when it comes to holiday home security; you could live a good distance from your property, it may be unoccupied for periods during the year and you’ll ultimately have no control over how security conscious and diligent your guests remain when they’re in relaxation mode on their holiday.
Whilst latest Government figures show the rate of UK robberies is at an all time low, now is a great time of the year to be taking a look at what security you have in place, and how you communicate this vigilance with your guests.
In this essential guide to holiday home security we give you a few simple steps you can put in place in order to make sure that your cottage is as secure as possible…
Windows and Doors
The majority of thieves are opportunists and holiday homes can provide them with an abundance of potential opportunities. Your guests will stay in their droves during the summer months when temperatures are higher, leading to the temptation of leaving windows wide open when away from the property. Combine this with the fact they’ll spend the majority of the time away from your cottage and you’ve got an unoccupied home with little defence.
3 out of 10 burglaries are committed without using force; whilst the majority of visitors will treat your cottage like their own, consider adding a friendly request to secure all windows and doors before leaving the property, and also consider any communication that you could display near windows, particularly if they’re located on the ground floor.
Adding locks to windows throughout your holiday home can be another line of defence. An insurer may want to know what security systems you have in place to see if they meet conditions for external and internal doors. A five-lever mortice deadlock conforming to the British Standard 3621 is highly recommend, if not one of a higher spec.
For extra peace of mind windows could also be fitted with key operated locks with handles that are multi locking and conform to British Standards.
Changeover or periods during which your holiday home is unoccupied could be potential targets for burglars. If you don’t already have one, consider the use of a key safe to secure your holiday home keys for the convenience of your visitors.
For more information on the first ever police approved key safe please take a read of our blog post here:
Keeping an eye out
We’ve said that these periods can be a target, so how often do you visit the property to ensure everything is in order? If you live a good distance from your holiday home consider having a neighbour, or cleaner make regular checks on your property, especially during vacant periods. This can be useful not only from a security perspective, but also highlight any maintenance issues during the busy season.
Holiday letting agents will also be able to keep you well informed on these aspects and may even offer an inspection service or point you in the direction of someone who does..
According to Yale, 60% of burglaries are on homes that have inactive alarm systems.
So does your holiday home have an active alarm, particularly when you don’t have any guests? We advise talking to alarm specialists about what type of alarm you should use and highly recommend asking a registered company to install it.
Visit the National Security Inspectorate website at www.nsi.org.uk to find a registered specialist near you.
It’s vital that you have contents insurance in place, but do you know exactly what contents are in your holiday home? If you only visit the property infrequently it may be some time before you realise that items have been removed from your cottage.
Make a list of items inside your holiday home and also consider taking photographs of where they are located (this can be useful for future reference should there be any issues).
Property marking is an additional way of protecting items of particular value and will make it harder for thieves to sell on. Methods include UV pens, etching and forensic marking. Talk to your local police and council to find out if they run any workshops in the area.
Holiday home insurance
Do pay attention to any security conditions in your holiday home insurance policy and ensure that you have the correct holiday home security in place. Whilst it is good practice to have all the above security measures in place, our underwriters will not generally require minimum security measures to be in place unless your contents sums insured are substantial. It’s not practical to expect your holiday home guests to lock every window whilst they go out for the day so look for a holiday home insurance policy that does not require evidence of forceful of violent entry in the event of a theft claim.
If you have any questions or queries regarding the insurance cover you have in place or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance please give one of our experienced team a call on 01237 429444.
This holiday home security article has been created as generic guidance for holiday home, cottage and holiday cottage complex owners and does not constitute security or insurance advice. If you have any questions relating to holiday home security and the prevention of thefts at your holiday cottage you should take advice.