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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director      
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
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Lock out thieves while on vacation; safeguard your home and avoid insurance claims

SEATTLE – Vacation is a time to relax, recharge and enjoy time away from home. To help ensure a worry-free and enjoyable trip, take steps to protect your home and make it a less attractive target for thieves.

More than 2 million burglaries occur each year, and most burglaries occur in July and August. Homeowners Insurance claims due to theft average $3,620 per year according to the Insurance Information Institute.

In 2012, there were an estimated 2.1 million burglaries according to FBI crime statistics.  Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 74.5 percent of all burglary offenses.

“A few simple precautions will make your home a lot less attractive to burglars,” said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president, “and you’ll be able to relax a little more while you’re away.”

Standard Homeowners Insurance covers the theft of most personal belongings and damage associated with burglary.  However, jewelry, furs, fine art and other expensive belongings typically have $1,000 to $2,000 worth of coverage, depending on your policy.  To protect your high-dollar items for their full value, you can purchase special coverage with no deductible.

As you plan a fun and relaxing vacation this summer, take time to safeguard your home and belongings by following these tips:

  • Update your insurance coverage.  Be sure you have adequate coverage for your personal belongings, including high-value items.
  • Don’t update your Facebook status. Resist the temptation to update your Facebook status with details about your upcoming vacation. Burglars can scan Facebook updates from local residents to target homes. Wait until you return to tell your friends and family on Facebook about your great vacation.
  • Lock all doors and windows.  Sliding glass doors have weak locks.  Install a deadbolt lock and place a broomstick or dowel in the inside door track.
  • Install an alarm system. Consider installing and using an alarm system that is monitored at a central location.
  • Reduce the darkness. Consider having exterior lights and motion detectors mounted around your home and out of easy reach.
  • Make your home look less attractive to thieves.  Leave blinds in their usual position.  Leave a little trash in your garbage can and arrange to have your lawn mowed.  All of these tactics can give burglars the indication that someone is home.
  • Stop all mail and newspaper deliveries.  A stuffed mailbox or a pile of rolled newspapers in front of the door leaves a clear impression that you aren’t home.
  • Trim hedges next to your home so burglars do not have a place to hide and arrange to have a trusted person mow the lawn.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and when you expect to return.  Have a friend or neighbor keep an eye on your home and property.
  • Do not hide keys in secret places outside your home.  Experienced burglars usually know where to look.
  • Conduct a home inventory of all of your personal belongings.  Document or video tape each room of your home and keep the inventory in a safe place or offsite.  You can access free, downloadable Home Inventory Software from NW Insurance Council’s website.

For more information about Homeowners Insurance coverage and how to protect your home from burglary, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or send an email to

The NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.