Thief-proof your clients homes this winter

image of modern home


Hello, November. The days are getting shorter, the nights are closing in, and the temperature is dropping. It’s official – winter is coming. After months of constant uncertainty one thing is for sure: this is going to be a winter unlike any other. As we endure another lockdown, Stephen Corcoran, Underwriter for DUAL Ireland, asks what are the implications for your clients’ homes?

Covid-19 has turned all of our lives upside down. With the rules changing every week, there is no way of knowing what life will look like by the time you read this. However, at the time of writing, it seems like we’re facing more months of social distancing and isolation. Rates continue to rise, and a secondary lockdown has just commenced. There is no way to know what will happen over the coming months, but one thing is clear: this is going to be an unusual winter. So, what does this mean for our homes?

Winter homes

Traditionally, one of the key types of claim we always see more of during the winter months is burglary. Every year, thieves take advantage of dark days, long evenings, and the lure of Christmas presents waiting to be gifted. While we are out visiting friends, running round the shops, or attending carol services and school plays, our empty homes are at the mercy of thieves in search of treasure.

This year, though, with winter sun out of reach and household mingling off the cards, we are likely to be spending more time than usual at home. Does that mean we are risk free?

Risk-free homes?

Generally, being indoors decreases the risk of burglary. Thieves want to steal from empty homes, and with so many of us working from home and spending our spare time indoors, they have fewer opportunities to strike. Unfortunately, these factors don’t mean that our homes are automatically more secure this winter.

Restrictions on travel haven’t just kept holidaymakers from their trips. They also kept second-home owners from their properties and encouraged family members to move in together to spend lockdown together. As a result, houses across Ireland spent weeks or even months empty this spring and summer. As we face the prospect of more restrictions over Christmas, we may see the same again. If those homeowners are unwilling or unable to check in on their properties for extended periods, their empty homes might become a target for thieves. How can you help your clients protect their valuables and avoid becoming the victim of robbery?

3 tips for securing a home this winter

1. Invest in security systems, and make them obvious

In almost every instance, burglars are looking for an easy win. If they see a visible security system on a property, they are far more likely to walk on by and choose another target. Make sure your client has a security system in place, that they put stickers on their windows and doors to advertise the fact, and that they set the alarm before they go away. Research shows that 90% of thieves will bypass a visibly secure home in search of an easier hit.

2. Create the illusion of human presence

Thieves will often case a potential target before taking action - especially if the home looks likely to contain valuables. If they can tell that the property is empty and has been for a while, it becomes an even more attractive proposition. Redirecting mail, cancelling newspaper deliveries, and setting lights on a variable timer can make it less obvious that no-one is home. Smart technology can even let your clients control their lights and appliances remotely, so they can create the illusion of being home even if they’re miles away.

3. Hide valuables

The longer a thief spends in someone else’s property, the higher the risk of being caught. As a result, most burglars try to be in and out as fast as possible. Keeping car keys by the front door, jewellery on the nightstand, and precious paperwork or technology on the desk is just giving thieves a helping hand. Educate your clients on the importance of having a hidden, anchored safe, and encourage them to use it!

Thieves can strike while your clients are at the office, away for the weekend, or kept away for months by a new lockdown. These tips should help your clients protect their homes and valuables whatever the future holds.

If the worst should happen, and thieves strike while your clients are away, DUAL can keep them covered. Our Home and Contents policy offers all risks worldwide cover as standard for all jewellery, contents and fine art.

If your clients have high value contents and jewellery, get in touch to find out how we can help protect them. For more information contact Stephen Corcoran. Stephen is a Private Client Underwriter at DUAL, the world’s largest international MGA. DUAL Private Client specialises, amongst other areas, in High Net Worth personal insurance in Ireland and are backed by AXA XL, a division of AXA, one of the world’s largest insurance groups. t: 01 664 0001 / e:stephen. 

This article was first published in the November edition of Irish Broker Magazine - you can view a PDF version here