Last updated: 04/11/2021
If you’re living in student accommodation, then you’re probably already clued up on how expensive it can be – whether you’re living in halls or a student house. Once you’ve tallied up your rent, utilities and housing deposit, that’s a lot of money and emotional investment tied up in your student home – not even considering all your gadgets and belongings!
With so many valuable items at risk should anything get unexpectedly stolen or damaged, have you taken the time to make sure your student home is safe and secure before you leave it empty for a few weeks?
Whether you’re heading home for the holidays. taking a staycation, or just looking to enhance your security, here are 10 simple security tips to help keep your student home safe.
1. Don’t post on social media before or during your time away
Let’s start with the simplest (but potentially most difficult!) tip, don’t be too open about your whereabouts on your social accounts. To avoid people knowing when your room will be empty – don’t post before or during your time away. Did you know that 43%* of burglars know their victim?!
This may be tough for the content creators or self-confessed social addicts among us, but posting your whereabouts online is basically giving a heads-up to potential burglars! This obviously doesn’t mean that you can’t post your aesthetic holiday photos on your grid. Just get on board with celebrity lifestyle by only posting your location when you’re back home!
2. Review upcoming deliveries if you won’t be home
A package pile-up can be a bad thing for a few reasons.
1) It’s a clear sign that you’re not home (and probably haven’t been for a while)
2) It can be a fire hazard
3) There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a well-needed delivery sent to your uni address when you’re at home for the holidays!
In the days before you leave, make a mental note to use your ‘home-home’ address when doing any online shopping. Also think about any regular subscriptions you receive – contact lenses, Glossybox or even a Hello Fresh delivery! See if you can divert, postpone or cancel any deliveries you won’t be in to collect (especially if they include fresh food!).
3. Switch off non-essential appliances when not in use
A student’s worst nightmare: unexpected utility bills. Remember that whilst you’re away from your uni accommodation, there are a few cost-saving things you can do to save yourself some money.
If you’re heading away over the warmer months, consider switching off your boiler. It’s best not to do this over the winter as leaving the heating on consistently will prevent your pipes freezing.
Switch off all your appliances at the wall (TVs, radios etc.). This will help reduce your electricity bill and also make the house safer by reducing the risk of a power surge!
A top tip is to gather your remaining house/flatmates and walk around your student home room-by-room – switching off and unplugging unnecessary appliances… just don’t unplug the fridge-freezer!
4. Befriend your smart speaker’s security features
Put your smart speaker to good use whilst you’re away and use its home safety features. For example:
Alexa Guard is an Alexa-powered feature that uses all of the far-field mics in Amazon Echo devices to listen for sounds of an intruder (for example, glass breaking, footsteps or alarms).
If you have smart lights set up, Alexa will also be able to switch them on and off to mimic your normal usage. There’s also a premium version of Alexa Guard where it offers a few extra features such as a 24/7 emergency helpline.
5. Lock all windows and doors before leaving home
Imagine this: You return to uni after a wholesome few weeks at home to find that your flat has been burgled over the holidays. Your TV and laptop have been taken (amongst other things), but you’re relieved by the fact you know you have contents insurance which covers for theft. However, what this doesn’t cover is theft where access is gained through an open door or window… which is exactly what they did.
Needless to say, whilst you and your house/flatmates are doing the rounds and checking for plugs that can be switched off, it’s also important to check the windows!
6. Hide your valuables out of sight
If you’re not taking all your belongings with you, move everything valuable out of sight. Hiding things under the bed or in the cupboard will ensure your stuff is a less a tempting target should someone look through the window.
7. Invest in a budget home security camera
We know living on a student budget can be challenging and that buying home security tech probably won’t be at the top of your list, but you may be surprised at the budget-friendly options out there.
*Correct as of 28/10/21
8. Review emergency key locations
Having an emergency key might seem like a good idea if you’re prone to losing your stuff on a night out, but it’s a huge ‘no no’ from a security point of view!
Make sure any emergency keys are removed and ideally not replaced when you return!
9. Keep your keys in a safe place
If you’re leaving keys in your house/flat, then make sure they’re in a safe place. Don’t leave them in (or too close to) the door so that savvy thieves can’t reach for easy access!
10. Make sure you’re covered with insurance
Considering the increased risk of fire and theft when you and your flat/housemates leave your student home empty, it’s a good idea to make sure your gadgets and belongings are protected with suitable student insurance – both in your student house and while you’re out and about.
If you’re staying in student accommodation, you may already have insurance through your accommodation provider! Find out if you’re covered and confirm your cover today on the My Endsleigh app.
From here you’ll be able to view the cover that you have and top it up to include any additional items or circumstances you might need (for example, cover for your bike, or cover for your gadgets whilst you’re away from your student accommodation).
If you’re not covered through your student accommodation, don’t worry! You can still cover your gadgets against theft, accidental damage (including cracked screens!) and mechanical breakdown through My Endsleigh. You’ll even get a 15% Endsleigh discount on up to two gadgets!