While insurance claims are filed for many reasons, one of the most devastating is when the reason is a burglary. Why? Because not only have your possessions been taken without your permission, but your home has literally been invaded. More than six million American homes are burgled each year, and no one is immune. To help protect yourself and your home, first, there are a couple of things you should know, and then there are some things you can do. What You Should Know Many people feel that they are not a target for burglary because they aren't rich. The reality is, everyone is a target.
If you own a television, computer, iPod, or camera, or even a radio and a DVD player, a burglar will happily take your things, either to keep or to sell, and targeted items aren't limited to electronics, either - jewelry, shoes, and even some kinds of pets are all at risk of being stolen. You should also be aware that darkness isn't necessary for burglars, though privacy is. Given the choice of an empty house during the day time, or an occupied house at night, the average burglar will choose the former every time. As well, it's important to note that most burglars are teenagers or young adults who live in or near your neighborhood and are always on the lookout for an easy target, as well as for people with regular, predictable patterns.
What You Can Do If you're feeling a little bit disconcerted about now, it's understandable, but there are several things you can do to help minimize the likelihood of being burglarized, and to lessen the effect a burglary will have on you. Steps include: Invest in a home security system. That extra few seconds it takes to key in a code every morning and evening could be the difference between a break-in attempt and an actual break-in.
Always lock your doors when you leave the house, even if you live in the country where it's "safe." Keep your car keys separate from your house keys, and don't put your address on either key ring, and never, ever leave a spare key anywhere obvious like in a planter or in the mailbox. Use an engraving pen to write your driver's license number or insurance policy number on all of your home electronics - burglars don't like marked goods.
Also, record the serial numbers of things like televisions and computers, especially portables. Keep the area around your house well lit, and keep bushes and shrubs trimmed so that they don't provide a hiding place, or obscure the view from the street. Join your neighborhood watch program, or start one, if your neighborhood doesn't already have one. Make sure your windows and doors have strong locks in working order, and use them all the time. These are just a few of the most basic things you can do to minimize your chance of being burgled, but one more thing you can do is make sure you keep your insurance agent updated with an inventory of all the valuable things in your home, and periodically go over the list and reassess your coverage needs.
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