18 months in the making. On Friday, schools across the country broke up for the summer holiday. With COVID restrictions largely lifted, this will be the first time many people have been away with their families in over a year.
Whilst going abroad is still off the cards for most, Britain’s beaches are expected to be busy from dawn till dusk as a holiday-goers flock on staycation. You can go out for a meal at a restaurant, you can host a barbecue, you can even hug old friends. Please, let’s be responsible though.
At Hiro, we want you to go away with peace of mind that your most prized possessions are safe. However, our recent research shows that a third of Brits have taken personal items - such as loved ones’ or pets’ ashes, ancestors’ war medals and even wedding dresses - on holiday with them to ensure they are safe.
This shows the limitation of home insurance as it exists today - it doesn’t actually protect your belongings, it just pays out on them should they get stolen or damaged. But we know that you can’t put a price on sentimental value and that some items simply can’t be replaced.
So, we show you how to use cutting edge smart technology to proactively protect your home, and give you a discount on your policy to boot.
It’s not too late to be fortifying your house into a mini, high-tech Fort Knox. That said, if kitting out your home with all the latest smart tech isn't an option - perhaps because you have children screaming in your ear about how excited they are to go to the beach - there are still certain things that you can do to protect your house anyway.
So, if you have left it a little late, what are the quick wins - both from a smart tech and practical standpoint - that you can use to help keep your home safe this holiday season?
Be smart to stay secure
From a technology standpoint, it only takes a relatively small number of fairly simple devices to make a big difference when securing your home for holidays.
Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue can really help to simulate occupancy. By having the system turn lamps on once the sun starts to go down, you can give off the illusion that you’re home.
If you want to be really clever, you can use Advanced Presence Mimicking to get Hue to randomise the lighting within certain timeframes. This basically means the exact same lights don’t turn on at the exact same time every day.
This can even be achieved with ‘dumb’ lamps plugged into Hue Smart Plugs, which might be a better option if you’re really in a hurry.
This system can even be controlled through a smart speaker, such as Amazon’s Echo, making it easy to turn ‘holiday mode’ on.
A great way to get the most out of this tip is to ensure these lamps aren’t in places like bay windows that thieves might be able to see from street level. Instead, put them in the hallway so that the light can be seen without giving away that nobody is in.
Also, a Ring doorbell that has ‘Away Mode’ on can really help security. Again, this is fairly simple to set up, and even geofences your home. In human-speak, this automatically turns your cameras on once you leave, ensuring they capture everything when you are away and alerting you to any unwanted visitors.
You can also get your cameras and motion sensors to turn lights on when they detect movement, simulating an inhabitant coming to the door.
Of course, although less common, the impact of a fire or flood can be much higher than theft, especially if flooding is left undetected for a couple of weeks.
So, for those that are worried about fire, you could swap your current smoke alarms out for Netatmo smart smoke alarms, which allow you to quickly validate whether a fire is real or a false positive.
You could also add Honeywell Home’s leak detectors to your arsenal, which will ping you a notification if water is detected so that you can get a neighbour or family member to go and check on the house. Smart tech aficionados might want to go a step further and add Sonic from Hero Labs, which will automatically turn off the water supply if a leak is detected.
Finally, anyone that has the time to really kit out their house, see our blog on all the additional ways you can use smart tech to protect your home whilst you’re away.
‘Dumb’ ways to be savvy
Aside from technology, there are a number of things you can do to create a sense of occupancy and put intruders off.
Firstly, leave your car in the drive. You can have all the technology you want in the house, but if your driveway is empty all week, it is a pretty clear sign that nobody is in. This might mean getting a friend or family member to drop you at the station or airport, but it is worth doing to add a layer of believability to your security.
Also, ask a neighbour to pick up any packages or post left on the doorstep - a parcel left on the doorstep for a few days is a real tell-tail sign that you’re away.
Finally, make sure any small but valuable items are well-hidden, and ideally in a secured safe. Crime stats show that the real high-value items for burglars are purses, cash, cards, jewellery and watches, which are stolen more regularly than larger items, such as TVs or bikes. This is probably because these items represent a high payload, but are also easily transported and sold.
So let’s try and ensure that even if they do get in, making off with valuable items is as hard as possible for burglars.
Planning for next year
For next year, perhaps you should consider increasing your security as early as possible, enabling you to really relax. We partner with a range of vendors that can help to deliver peace of mind through their smart tech.
Whilst this smart tech will go a long way to making your home safer, we also understand that money talks. At Hiro, we’ll reward you for improving the security of your home by giving you a fairer price on your insurance, as well as access to our smart store where you can get amazing deals on future smart tech purchases.
We feel that proactively protecting your home is always better than simply paying out should the worst happen (although we’ll do that too!).
So click below to see your quote.