Tips for Protecting Valuables While Away

If you plan to visit family for the holidays, your valuables may be vulnerable while you are away. Highly portable and easy to sell, jewelry is one of the most commonly stolen items.

“Precious metals, such as gold, are particularly appealing these days because they have increased in value over the past few years,” states Mike Maley, vice president of Personal Lines with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

JM recommends the following tips to help safeguard your jewelry and your home while you are away:

* Avoid obvious hiding places. Jewelry boxes and dresser drawers, as well as almost any other spot in bedrooms, are probably the first places a burglar will look for your valuables.

* An optimal place for storing jewelry is an in-home safe. A good safe should
 be at least 150 pounds, immobile (e.g., bolted to the floor), inconspicuous
 (avoid bedroom closets), and have a combination lock.

* Consider storing infrequently worn jewelry in a bank safe-deposit box.

* Make sure your jewelry is adequately insured, either through your
 homeowners’ policy or with a specialized policy such as the one offered by
 Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

To additionally protect your home while away this holiday season, consider
these tips:

* Use automatic timers to turn on lights, your television, and radio at different
 times to make it appear that you are home.

* Install energy-efficient outdoor lights with motion detection. Make sure
 entrances to your home are well lit.

* Don’t hide your house key outside your house where it easily can be found.
 Leave it with a trusted neighbor.

* Put away ladders and tools that might assist burglars in breaking into your
 home.

* Trim tree limbs that provide access to a second story window. Plant thorny
 shrubs near windows.

* Stop newspapers and mail delivery, or have a neighbor pick them up on a
 daily basis.

* Have the lawn groomed or snow removed while you’re away.

* Install quality deadbolt locks, with one-inch throwbolts and reinforced strike
 plates on all exterior doors. Many burglaries could be eliminated if people had
 properly locked doors and windows.

* Secure your windows with pin locks on the upper and lower sashes.

* Don’t forget to lock your garage door.

* Conduct security inspections of your home on a regular basis. Inspect locks
 on your doors and windows for wear and tear, and look for burned-out light
 bulbs.