Burglars tend to look for the easiest targets. By keeping your home secure and making it tougher to access, you increase the odds that thieves will go elsewhere. The Insurance Information Institute says you can make your home less burglar-friendly with a few easy steps.
- Do a walk-around of your house, thinking like a burglar. Focus on entry points such as doors and windows, and think about ways to make them more secure.
- Look for areas where a burglar might be able to hide, such as behind large shrubs or trees near the home. Trim landscaping around the house to give thieves less cover.
- Thieves love working in the dark. Make sure you have plenty of exterior lights, including motion-activated systems.
- Don't underestimate simple but effective items such as padlocks and window bars or grates. Anything that slows a would-be thief will make him more likely to give up.
- Invest in a security system — ideally, one that has an off-site monitoring system that will be alerted if a possible security breach occurs at your home.
- Avoid displaying collectibles or other valuable items where they are easily visible from the street, as this may make it tough for a thief to resist.
Also, if you are planning to be away, arrange to have your home look lived in and avoid doing or saying anything that might inadvertently let others know your home will be unattended.
September is National Preparedness Month, and it's a great time to get family, neighbors and your community involved. Being prepared can mean the difference between a difficult but safe experience and a chaotic and potentially life-threatening one.
- The Red Cross offers preparedness checklists based on your specific needs and location.
- Ready Kids has information, activities and games to make learning about potential disasters and how to prepare for them easy for you and fun for your kids.
- The National Preparedness Coalition can help you find opportunities to support community preparedness.
Be Proactive about Preventing Dog Bites
Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims in 2011, reports the Insurance Information Institute. Not to mention, they can cause serious and painful injuries. Follow these tips to help your pet become friendly toward others:
- Make socialization a high priority, so your dog will be accustomed to playing well with others (both animals and humans). Play nonaggressive games, and avoid exposing your dog to unfamiliar or frightening situations. Also, consider obedience training by a professional.
- Choose an effective fencing solution. Invisible fences are popular and can be effective at containing your pet. But remember, someone can still enter your yard.
- Never leave your pet unattended in an open or public area.
- Health conditions can sometimes cause a dog to act aggressively. Contact your veterinarian if your dog is behaving strangely or bites or snaps at others.
Review your homeowners or renters insurance to make make sure you are adequately covered in the event of an incident with your dog.
Don't Let A Leak Catch You Off-Guard
Water losses account for one in every three home claims reported by USAA members that are not the result of a catastrophe. Detect water leaks early before serious damage is done with easy-to-use, battery-operated water alarms. Water detection devices can be purchased at many home improvement stores.