You may think of home security and insuring your valuables as a “been there, done that” concern that you took care of when you got your homeowners’ insurance policy, put into place when you first bought the property. Chances are, you will be incident-free and all will be fine for the years that you live there. 


But a break-in or other home disaster can happen when you least expect it. To be sure that you don’t fall victim to a home invasion or burglary, let’s take a look at how you can protect your home and ensure that your insurance coverage is up to par, should a loss occur. 


Security Basics

The harder you make it for a thief to gain access to your home and your valuables, the less likely he or she is to try. 


Here are five things you can do to make your home secure:

- Keep track of who has keys to your home. 

- Check that all locks work.

- Add lighting outside your home. 

- Get an alarm system.

- Lock away your valuables.


Keep Track of Who Has Keys to Your Home

Who has a key to your home? Keep a list (somewhere safe) of who has been given a key to your house. Besides immediate family members, there may be service providers who come weekly that you have given a key to. Review this list regularly and make sure everyone who has a key is still working for you or should have this sort of access to your home. 


Check That All Locks Work

Check that all lock devices work correctly on windows and doors. It is easy to check and should be conducted regularly. 


Add Lighting Outside Your Home

Thieves look for doorways and windows that are not well lit from the street. Add motion- lights around the perimeter of your property. When movement is detected, the lights will automatically turn on. Motion detector lights must be high wattage to illuminate an area, especially one that has many trees or shrubs. Think obnoxious floodlights that light up the sky and the house, and lawn making it difficult for intruders to find a place to hide. 


Get an Alarm System

If you are interested in a higher level of security other than locking doors and windows, you may want to install a security system. There is a reason why words like “stealth” and “stalk” come to mind when talking about burglary. Robbers want to come in and go out of your home without anyone knowing they have ever been there. The three elements that they hate the most when making their way into a residence are sound, lights and video cameras. Having an alarm system that is loud and persistent, reaching neighbors and tied directly to the local police department shows the would-be robber that the time at your home is limited before police respond to the alarm. 


Take the time to review reputable security companies to develop a security plan that’s capable of providing the right monitoring level for your needs. The installation will include monitoring for all doors and windows, or at a minimum the ones that are most easily accessible. Once the homeowner turns on the alarm system if a door or window contact is broken the alarm will sound unless the correct code is entered on the key panel. After a brief period, the alarm company will send out the police to check the premises. 


There are options to implement on your own--if you’re looking for a more economical solution, there are several affordable home security system options now available that include video monitoring. 


Lock Away Your Valuables

The odds that your home will be the target of a burglary are low. But if it is, how easy would it be for the robbers to find your valuables? While keeping jewelry in a jewelry box or somewhere in your closet is certainly convenient, it is also convenient for the intruder. Criminals will look in all the obvious places. 


Put a little thought into what would make you most comfortable in protecting whatever it is that is of value to you. That can be anything from fire and burglar-proof commercial container, home safe or a hiding place that only you know about. Banks also offer safety deposit boxes for those extra special items of value. Weigh the cost and security of the various options and determine what will give you peace of mind, and for a cost that you’re comfortable with. 


Make it a priority to review your homeowners’ insurance coverage (or any insurance, for that matter) on an annual basis to ensure that it reflects any important changes. 


fsboHandshake loves to educate For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home sellers