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  Sitting poolside at a vacation hotspot is not the place where you want to worry about the protection of your home because you didn't take the time to appropriately secure your property.

Most burglaries occur in July and August. Homeowners Insurance claims for theft total about $1 billion annually, with the average claim around $2,500.

In 2008, there were an estimated 2.2 million burglaries - an increase of two percent when compared with 2007 data. Burglary accounted for 22.7 percent of the estimated number of property crimes committed in 2008.

"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 generally covers the theft of most personal belongings and damage associated with burglary.

However, jewelry, furs, art and other expensive belongings typically have $1,000 to $2,000 worth of coverage. To protect your high-dollar items to 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:

  • Standard Homeowners Insurance policies normally cover damage and theft caused by burglars.
  • Lock all doors and windows. Sliding glass doors have weak locks. Install a bolt lock and place a broomstick or dowel in the inside door track.
  • Make your home look less attractive to thieves. Leave blinds open in their usual position. Leave a little trash in your garbage can. Arrange to have your lawn mowed or your walk shoveled. 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.
  • 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.

Call your company or agent to find out what your policy covers and the costs involved.

For free brochures on Homeowners Insurance and how to protect your home from burglary, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.