Keep burglars out! (Part 2)

Burglar breaking into house

photo credit: Eastlaketimes via photopin cc

Did you know that a burglary takes place every 3 minutes in Canada? *

Is there anything you could be doing to help combat this alarming statistic? Of course, you could (and should) install a security system in your home, which can be very effective, but isn’t always an option financially, and even with a system installed, there is no guarantee that it will stop intruders when they know that no one is home.  For those of you without a security system, here’s some more free or very inexpensive ways to help burglar proof your house without breaking the bank, and if you do have a system, these ideas can also help increase the security of your home.

1. Keep Some Lights On

This is not the most energy efficient way to keep burglars away but it has been proven effective. Leave a light on in one or two rooms throughout your house when you go out at night. Make sure that you do not have the blinds open in these rooms showing that they are empty. This gives the illusion that someone is home, even when you’re away. Burglars don’t like risking being caught due to lights being on.

2. Never leave a note
This may seem like common sense to those who live in cities, however in rural areas it is still common to leave a note on the door telling a neighbor or a delivery person who is stopping by that you ran to the store and will be back soon. This is a great way to let a burglars know that you are out and wont be back for a certain amount of time

3. Voice mail messages: Don’t tell people you’re not home!
Sometimes it seems like the easiest solution to just tell all your friends that you are heading out on vacation or to leave it as your voice mail message. However, as mentioned earlier, criminals may call your home to see if you are home before breaking in. If they are get a message saying you are in the Mexico soaking up the sun until next week, you can be sure they will be targeting your house.

4. Leave a radio or TV on
By leaving the Radio or TV on you are creating sound within the house. This can make it difficult for the robber to determine whether or not you are inside. Leaving the TV on can lead to high electric costs, so having a battery operated radio can help conserve energy and will get you the same results.

5. Hire or arrange for a house sitter
Getting a friend to look after your house for you while you are away on a trip or vacation is a great way to keep your house safe from burglars. Keep your fridge stocked with food and they might do it for free. If you will be gone for an extended time and can’t get a house sitter, consider having someone stop by to check on your house and take your mail in. Also, in the winter, or heating months, if you are going away for more than 72 hours you may find that your house insurance dictates that someone check on your house daily to make sure that the furnace is still working properly so pipes don’t freeze and/or burst. It’s a good idea to have your house sitter keep a log of each time they check on your home in case something does happen.

6. Neighborhood watch programs
If your neighborhood has had some break-ins, it might be time to start a neighborhood watch program. Everyone can take turns driving around at night and keeping watch to make sure no one is out prowling the neighborhood.

7. Stop mail and newspaper deliveries
If you are going away for more than a couple of days, it’s a good idea to pause your mail and newspaper delivery. Huge piles of newspapers on your doorstep are an easy way for criminals to determine you are away. If you are unable to stop your paper, ask a neighbor to pick them up for you.

 

Take time to take care.

Ron Lapointe
Registered Broker

 

* Source: cmhc-schl.gc.ca  Some list info supplied by www.mrfreestuff.com

Keep burglars out! (Part 1)

Door Lock

photo credit: AMagill via photopin cc

Did you know that a burglary takes place every 3 minutes in Canada? *

Is there anything you could be doing to help combat this alarming statistic? Of course, you could (and should) install a security system in your home, which can be very effective, but isn’t always an option financially, and even with a system installed, there is no guarantee that it will stop intruders when they know that no one is home. For those of you without a security system, here’s some more free or very inexpensive ways to help burglar proof your house without breaking the bank, and if you do have a system, these ideas can also help increase the security of your home.

1. Take your name off the mailbox
By removing your name off the mailbox, would be thieves can’t call information to get your phone number. Many burglars will call a house they are planning on robbing before hand to make sure that no one is home. Also, bring in your mail as quickly as possible so they can’t get your name off of this as well.

2. Be careful what you put in your trash or recycling
If you just purchased high-end items such as a big screen TV, you shouldn’t just put the box out at the curb. Instead break down the box and when possible, try to fit it inside your recycle box. Other high risk items you might have in your trash/recycling are billing or bank statements. Criminals can steal these and use them to open new accounts in your name. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in these situations so take the time to cut up or shred important documents.

3. Your ringing telephones
Before you go on a trip, it’s best to turn down the volume of your phone, or if you can turn it to silent while you’re away, even better! Criminals have been known to roam the streets listening for loud rings that are not answered, since this is a sure sign that no one is home.

4. Take in your outdoor tools
Don’t leave the ladder outside after cleaning out the gutters. It is really important you bring these items inside, at a minimum to a closed garage when you are done. If you leave a ladder outside, you are giving would be robbers an easy way to climb in through an open upstairs window.

5. Trim your trees and bushes
Hedges and trees commonly line around the house and go right by the front door. Although these look lovely to the homeowner, they are also appealing to criminals. These landscaping beauties work perfectly as hiding places for someone to wait for you to come outside for a second to get your mail or walk the dog. If you keep these items trimmed well enough, no one will be able to successfully hideout in your yard.

6. Lock-up when you go out
Make sure to shut and lock any windows you regularly keep open. Criminals will watch for open windows when cars are leaving the driveway. These are the ideal entry point since they will not have to risk causing a noisy break in. Your safest bet is to keep windows closed as much as possible on the ground levels of your house even when you are at home. This will give the impression to criminals that they will never have a chance to get in.

7. Don’t hide a spare key
Many of us have done this in fear of getting locked out. Whether it’s under a rock a few feet away from the door or somewhere behind a bush in your backyard, desperate criminals are going to be looking. The best idea if you are afraid of being locked out is to leave a key with a trusted neighbor, co-worker, or friend that you would be able to contact quickly if you got locked out.

I’ll have more great ideas to burglar proof your house for you next time, so stay tuned…

 

Take time to take care.

Ron Lapointe
Registered Broker

 

* Source: cmhc-schl.gc.ca   Some info supplied by www.mrfreestuff.com

Why Are My Insurance Premiums Still Going Up?

Insurance Premiums Rising

The Insurance industry is experiencing another year of increased insurance premiums. Why? Below is some information to help you understand what is going on within the insurance industry.

The cost of insurance is influenced by many varied factors. Details like the increased costs to repair damaged vehicles, increased instances of insurance fraud, and rising medical and rehabilitation costs for accident victims all play a role in the determination of your insurance premiums. In the past few years:

  • The number of Collision claims, and cost to repair or replace vehicles has been increasing over 10% annually.
  • Costs associated with Accident Benefits claims have been increasing 14% annually.
  • Overall claims costs were up to 50% higher in 2000 than they were in 1999.
  • The Investment Income on premiums collected by Insurance Companies has decreased drastically. (You will have experienced this in your own personal finances).

While the insurance industry has implemented cost-savings measures to try to control some of these issues, many of these factors are beyond industry control.  Like all businesses, Insurance Companies need to try to maintain profitability.  An unprofitable company cannot compete in any market place. If Insurance Companies cannot stay in business, then the number of competing Insurance markets is reduced and the effect on the insurance consumer is the elimination of choice and competitive pricing.  In light of these factors, Insurance companies have increased the premiums they charge to the consumer in order to try to remain profitable. As a result, even if you have not had a loss or claim against your policy, your insurance premium will likely go up.

There are some things you can do to help offset these increases:

  • If you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company, but on a separate policy, you could qualify for a Multi-vehicle Discount.
  • If you insure both your Home and Automobile insurance policies with the same company, you could qualify for a Multi-Policy Discount.
  • Additional savings can be obtained through Higher Deductible limits.
  • If you have a child away at College or University, and that child does not have the use of your vehicles, you may be entitled to a Discount of 15%-50% on the premium you pay for the Occasional Driver coverage for that child.
  • If you have a monitored home alarm system you may qualify for an Alarm Discount on your home insurance premium.

As your Independent Insurance Broker, we are here to represent you.  Should you have any questions or should you want to make any changes to your policy coverage, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. Increased Insurance premiums are beyond your control.  Let us help in any way we can to ensure you receive the best insurance coverage at the best value.