WASHINGTON, D. C. (Tuesday, June 13, 2017) –– A burglary occurs every 10.5 seconds in the United States and the master bedroom is the first place burglars look. Break-in artists are looking for cash and looting jewelry. Keep that in mind as you pack your bags for your annual summer vacation. Beware the cat burglar. It is costly when they strike. The average loss in a house break-in is $2,316.
So far this year, 689 burglaries, a rate of three each day, have occurred in the District of Columbia, as of June 12, 2017, according to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). In comparison, by the same day a year earlier the city had witnessed 916 police reported burglaries. This comprises a 24 percent reduction in burglaries over the selfsame period of time. The summer months of July and August have the highest rates of residential burglaries, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Although public schools across the Washington metro area follow different calendars, the last day of school is nigh. Out-of-school-time means family vacation time. Since burglars see vacations as an opportunity to target empty homes, it’s important to take necessary precautions to enjoy your time away.
“Vacations require preparation and planning,” said Elise Burston, an Insurance Counselor with the AAA Mid-Atlantic Insurance Agency. “Just as you ensure all your items are packed for a relaxing time away, it’s also important to take steps to safeguard your home and keep your possessions safe.”
Second-story intruders are stealthy, sly, and skillful. Area residents are already planning their summertime getaways. Whether you’re jet-setting across the seas or taking a “stay-cation” nearby, AAA Mid-Atlantic Insurance Agency has tips to make your vacation fun-filled and stress-free.
Tips to protect your home while you’re away:
- Lock up. Dead-bolt window and door locks are the first line of defense to secure your home, since they can slow burglars down and may deter them entirely. Check with your insurance agent for a discount on these devices.
- Use an alarm. Invest in an effective burglar alarm that alerts the police, fire department and other emergency services. Check with your insurance agent for a discount on alarm systems.
- Disconnect computers. Make sure any personal information on your computer is difficult to access. Disconnect your electronic devices from the Internet to prevent hackers.
- Keep your valuables locked and well-hidden. Expensive jewelry, electronic devices and other valuables should be hidden from plain view and placed in safe lock boxes.
- Make your home look inhabited. Use timers to turn lights on and off. Temporarily stop newspaper deliveries and arrange to have your mail picked up or held by the post office. An unkempt lawn is also an indicator to burglars that you are away; hire a lawn service to maintain your yard if you will be gone for an extended period of time.
- Tell someone you trust. Ask a dependable neighbor, friend or family member to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Alerting the local police will also add a level of security.
- Use discretion. Avoid discussing your vacation plans in public places such as at the grocery store or at your local café. Although vacations are exciting, try not to post about it on social media; someone may see your posts and target your home while you’re away.
- Create a home inventory. In the event that you do need to file a claim, preparing a home inventory of your possessions beforehand will help make the process easier.
- Check your insurance policy. Ensure that you have the coverage you need in case you experience theft or damage to your property.
- Turn off the water to your home. A small leak from an icemaker or toilet can cost you thousands in repair costs as a result of water damage.
MORE THAN HALF OF RENTERS DON’T HAVE THE COVERAGE THEY NEED
Many millennials are putting off buying their first homes. To the contrary, they are either renting or moving back in with their parents. In fact, two-thirds of renters are ages 18-29, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Even so, many of those young adults have pricey electronics, expensive bicycles, and other costly gear. Even so, apartments comprise 42 percent of the available occupied housing units in the nation’s capital.
And rent grew faster than incomes for all renters in the District, including on the upper end of the market, according to the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. “Of the 11 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, the District of Columbia was the least affordable to the typical renter,” published reports reveal.
Yet less than half of renters across the country have renters insurance, despite the benefits and its affordability. Keep in mind, your landlord’s insurance will not cover your belongings if they’re stolen. Your landlord’s insurance typically covers the building. It does not cover your personal property. You may also be liable for any structural and/or water damage that you cause. In addition, renters insurance covers your liability in case a guest in your rented home or apartment is injured.
To find out more about homeowners, condo, or renters insurance, call your AAA agent or 202-481-6811, extension 4462098, to see what discounts you may be eligible for and what type of coverage you might need.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and nearly 78,000 members in the District of Columbia. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit http://aaa.com