Why thieves love summer vacation

house-robbery

With summer finally here and the kids out of school, many families will be heading on family vacations! But just as excited as you are for the holidays, so are burglars who are paying close attention to what’s being posted on social media. To help you have peace of mind while on holidays, here are some tips from insurance company Aviva Canada Inc. on some precautions to take, in particular with social media, to protect homes and belongings from theft while away from the home.

1. Keep your upcoming vacation plans off of social media and remind your kids to do the same. Ideally, hold off on posting pictures or revealing destination and duration until you get back. While you may be diligent with who can see what you post, some of your friends may not have tight privacy settings. Consider how and when you are posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media platforms you may use.

2. Upgrade the locking systems on your doors and windows. Also inspect window or door frames to ensure thieves could not easily force entry. Ensure all windows and doors are locked when out of the home or overnight.

3. Make a home look occupied when you’re away. Park a car in the driveway, leave some lights and a radio on, ask a neighbour to collect mail and newspapers and have your lawn mowed.

4. Install a security device with a loud alarm or flashing lights. Some alarms contact authorities directly when they have been activated.

5. Do a home inventory with your video camera. It will take minutes but will save you the stress and heartache of listing all of your possessions.

Jennifer Birch

How to avoid moving day hassles

Moving

If you’re lucky enough to convince half a dozen strong, able-bodied friends to dedicate their Saturday helping you with your move, kudos to you! If not, and you’ve decided to hire a moving company, there are a few things you can do in advance to ensure that things go smoothly on the big day.

You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point, between preparing your home for sale, sealing the deal and packing up all of your worldly belongings. The last thing you need is unnecessary stress on your closing date/moving day.

First, ask around for a moving company recommendation. Check with friends, colleagues, neighbours and family for referrals. If you’re not able to get a good referral from a trusted source, check online websites like Kijiji, but proceed with caution! Ask the company to provide at least three recent references and follow-up with them. Request a meeting ahead of time to get a feel for the individual. Are they professional, prepared and courteous? Did they show up on time?

Once you’ve chosen a mover, get everything in writing. It’s the law. According to Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA), all moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:

1. The mover’s name, address and contact information

2. A description of the service(s) and their prices

3. The total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes

4. Start and end dates for the service

5. The terms of payment (cash or cheque)

Other items that should be included in the contract are size and value of items, who is responsible for loss or damage, the number of staff and vehicles that will be provided and the name of the person who holds their insurance policy.

Hopefully with a little research ahead of time, you can help ensure a stress-free moving day!

Jennifer Birch