3 FOOLPROOF WAYS TO SECURE YOUR SECOND HOME
I t’s nice having a vacation home to escape to, especially when the holidays rolls around. But since you probably spend more time at your primary home, keeping bad guys away from your cabin in the woods or your beachfront property can be tricky. Read on to learn more about steps you can take to protect your second home.
Bulk up security
According to recent statistics, about 30% of household burglaries in the United States happen when a thief enters a home through an unlocked door or window. Installing deadbolt locks and burglar alarms are some of the best ways to prevent theft. Buying a system that lets you monitor what’s happening is another way to keep people from breaking into your vacation home.
You can install cameras that send real-time video footage straight to your smartphone or tablet. We recommend putting one camera outdoors and another one in a strategic spot inside of your home. You can monitor the feeds yourself or opt for someone else to do it.
Cameras can potentially keep burglars from attempting to enter your home. You may also want to consider buying other smart devices, like leak detectors, smart lights and locks that can be controlled remotely no matter where you are.
Make connections in the community
Your vacation home may be a place you visit occasionally. But it’s important to make friends with your neighbors. If you find someone who lives in the community throughout the year, you could rely on them for information. If something happens to your vacation home, that person could be your point of contact. Close-knit communities like to look out for each other, and you don’t want to feel like you’re the odd one out.
You might be surprised. A trusted friend or observant neighbor may know a lot about what happens when you’re not around. Let them know when you’ll be in town and more importantly, when you’ll be away. They can keep an eye out for strange activity. Give them your phone number and a spare set of keys so they can act quickly if something goes wrong.
In some areas around the country, you can also register for a house check. A police officer or registered volunteer can walk around the perimeter of your vacation home when you’re not in the area. Just keep in mind that in some places, house checks can only be done for a period of up to 30 days per calendar year.
Bonus tip: You’ll also want to make your home looks lived-in, even if you’re only there a few times a year. Thieves often look for easy targets like a home that’s unoccupied for weeks throughout the year.
Make sure you have enough insurance
If you plan to rent out your vacation home to others, you may want to meet with an insurance professional. There are different risks associated with having a second home and your standard homeowners’ policy may not cover damages that occur when someone is renting your home. According to the Insurance Information Institute, you may need to purchase additional coverage.
Letting family members or other guests spend a day or two in your vacation home may not be a big deal. But you should consider getting a business policy if you plan to regularly rent out your home for a week or more at a time. For long-term rentals (meaning that someone is spending time in your vacation home for six months or more), you’ll need a landlord or rental dwelling policy. Landlord policies cover physical damage to the structure of a second home, personal property and liability if someone gets hurt.
In most cases, landlord policies also provide financial support if you can’t rent out your property or make money while it’s being repaired after a covered loss. Just note that landlord policies generally cost about 25% more than the typical homeowners policy.
Before you go
Protecting your vacation home is important. Since you aren’t around as often, it’s best to buy security cameras, ask others to check up on your home and make sure you have enough insurance coverage. Before you leave the premises, double-check and make sure you’ve locked up all of your valuables. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to make an effort to keep your second home safe.