insurance

Vacation security to avoid home insurance claim

Secure all doors and windows
Secure all doors and windows © LittleStocker/Shutterstock.com

Doors and windows provide the main entry points for thieves, so make sure they are secure.

Boykins suggests using deadbolts and locks that are pick-resistant, drill-resistant and able to withstand substantial force, such as kicking. Such locks should be installed on all doors that are outside entry points, including the door from the garage into your home.

Exterior doors should be made of wood that is at least 1 3/4 inches thick, or should be clad in metal, according to the National Sheriffs' Association.

Sliding glass doors require a dowel in the bottom track to keep the door from being pried open. Anti-lift devices can prevent anyone from lifting the glass up and out.

Securing windows depends on the type of window installed. For example, double-hung sash windows, with upper and lower halves that move up and down in tracks, require a key-locking security sash lock. Casement windows that swing open can be secured by removing the crank handle from the window's opening mechanism. Glass doors and windows should be shatter-proof and break-resistant.

Remember to check all locks before you leave.

"The best locks in the world can't protect you if you don't use them," Boykins says.

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