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Monday 5 December 2016

How holiday break-ins can cost you €3,500

Top tips on keeping your home safe when you're away

Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor

Published 16/06/2016 | 10:43

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HOMEOWNERS have been warned to lock up valuables before they set off on holidays.

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The warning came after new research found the average theft claim made to insurers is €3,500.

The AA Ireland survey found homeowners in Wexford suffered the highest average loss at €6,600.

This claims figures are made up of the damage done to the home during break-ins and the loss of valuable items.

Louth residents suffered the second highest average loss with burglars causing damage and making off with valuables resulting in claims worth an average of €6,286.

Meath was next, with an average loss of €5,300, followed by Longford where the average loss amounted to €4,663, AA Ireland said.

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Dublin, despite its size, was the ninth in the list of counties in the league table of the highest losses by county.

The average Dublin home suffered a loss of close to €3,500, the figures for last year show.

Conor Faughnan of AA said it was well known that major cities, commuter counties, and densely populated residential areas are a target for criminals.

“While there are some stark differences between counties it is clear that no matter where you live, there is always a risk your home could become a victim of theft.

“It’s really important that you have adequate home insurance cover in place, something many people still do not have.”

Residents in Mayo claimed the least for theft in 2015 at just €650.

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With many householders beginning to set off on their summer holidays, AA Home Insurance has urged homeowners to take the necessary precautions to help reduce the risk of becoming another statistic.

“I don’t like giving people advice that costs money but a monitored alarm system is worthwhile,” Mr Faughnan said.

“It does provide a deterrent effect and while it may not make your home totally secure, it does at least tell potential thieves that you are not an easy target. It is also reassuring to know that if anything does happen at home you will know about it while on your holidays.”

AA Home Insurance offers the following advice on keeping your house safe:

• Check your home insurance policy to make sure precious valuables such as jewellery or other expensive items are covered in the unlucky event of a burglary.

• Avoid leaving valuable items in clear view – instead, be creative with where you hide them. For most thieves, a large wardrobe will be their first port of call, so hiding your items in several locations throughout the house will reduce their chances of getting away with the haul.

• Refrain from posting activities relating to your holiday travels on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a good idea to switch off the Location Services on your phone; posting an unrelated status online can inadvertently reveal your location to thieves.

• Before jetting off make sure to develop a rigorous exit routine. Ensure windows and doors are firmly locked and always remember to set the house alarm. Consider leaving a light on to give the impression that someone is home – a bathroom light can act as a good deterrent given that it could be in use at any time, day or night. Also invest in some light switch timers, or ask a trusted neighbour to switch your lights on.

• If you’re going to be away from home for a long period of time, make provisions with a trusted neighbour. Ask them to collect any post you receive and remember to cancel any expected milk or newspaper deliveries.

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