Last updated: 05/01/2021
If you’re living in a student house this year, then you’re probably already clued up on how expensive they can be.
Once you’ve thrown in your rent, utilities and housing deposit, that’s a lot of money and emotional investment tied up in your student home – and that’s not even considering all your gadgets and belongings!
With so much potential cost attached 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 or taking a staycation, here are 7 simple security tips to help keep your student home safe from hazards and thieves.
1. Set your lights on timers
It can be tempting to take the easy route and just leave a light on in the upstairs hallway to signal that someone’s home. But if you’re going to be away from home for more than a few weeks, this can actually make the fact your home is empty more noticeable. Your best bet is to set your lights on timers so they come on intermittently throughout the day.
Top tip: It’s also a good idea to leave a curtain or two open and a car on the drive when you’re away if possible, as this will to add to the “somebody’s home” effect.
2. Lock all of the windows and doors
It might sound obvious, but walk-in thefts are surprisingly common – so it’s important to spend ten minutes before you leave making sure every window and door in your student home is locked. Even if the top bedroom window is slightly ajar, it’s not worth the risk of a burglary and could even invalidate your student insurance in the event of a claim.
3. Switch off
If you’re heading away over the warmer months, consider switching off your boiler. While over the winter it’s a good idea to keep your heating on to prevent the pipes freezing, this won’t be so much of an issue over the summer, and you might even save some money!
You should also make sure all of your appliances, such as TVs and radios, are switched off at the wall. Not only will this reduce your electricity bill, it also means the house will be safer as there is less risk of a power surge.
4. Cancel regular deliveries
A huge package pile up isn’t just a clear signal that you’re not home (and probably haven’t been for a while) - it can be a fire hazard. That’s why it’s a good idea to either cancel your subscriptions, get your packages delivered to an alternative address or sweet-talk a friendly neighbor into scooping up your mail.
5. Hide your items
If you’re not taking all of your belongings with you, move everything out of sight. Hiding things under the bed or in the cupboard will ensure your stuff is a less a tempting target should someone have a look through the window.
Pro tip:If you’re really invested in home security, you can buy relatively cheap home security cameras that will link to an app on your phone. This will not only allow you to keep an eye on things while you’re away, but may also prove useful for pranking your housemates!
6. Don’t post on social media
Everyone can be a culprit of over-sharing on social media now and then, but it’s sensible not to post details of when your home will be unoccupied online – just in case. A savvy thief could build themselves up quite the timetable by tracking people’s movements on Instagram!
7. Make sure you’re covered
Considering the increased risk of fire and theft when a property is left unoccupied, 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.
*Voted the ‘best student insurance provider’ at the Insurance Choice Awards 2016-2020.