Love thy neighbour: How a good relationship with your neighbour could help protect your home
- QBE research found that three in four Australians feel more comfortable going on holiday if they know their neighbours are keeping an eye on their home
- We see up to 15% more theft claims over the summer holiday period than any other period of the year
- Try our three simple steps to help protect what’s important to you when you’re not home.
Could good neighbours actually make our homes safer? In a year when 80%1 of us have spent more time at home than ever before, three in four2 of us say we’d be more comfortable going on holidays if we knew our neighbours were keeping an eye on things, according to new research by QBE Insurance3.
However, the research also found that only half of us4 tell our neighbours before we lock up and leave our homes for a break.
“We know it’s been a very different year for all of us so we commissioned this research to understand how Australians feel about their neighbours and the security of their home when they finally get to take that long-awaited holiday over the summer period,” says David Gow, QBE Australia Pacific Head of Property Claims.
We know our neighbours better than before
An upside to 2020 is how we feel about our neighbours. One in three5 Australians say they know their neighbours better now than in previous years and 61%6 say they’d like an even better relationship with their neighbour, especially if it could improve their home security.
Summer period = more thefts than any other time of the year
“With state borders opening, many Australians are preparing to take their first substantial holiday of the year, however this coincides with what is historically a peak time for home break-ins,” Gow says.
“Our research shows that one in three Australians say they know someone who has had their home robbed or vandalised while on holiday and nearly one in ten have unfortunately experienced it themselves.
“Worryingly, our claims data shows that the summer holiday period is when we see up to 15%7 more theft claims than any other period of the year, and many stolen items are small, such as phones, jewellery, bags, laptops, rings, keys and tools. We also see regular reports of thefts from cars or of thieves gaining entry through garages or taking things from sheds,” Gow added.
Thefts can have lasting impacts
Before going on holiday, four in five Australians8 double check all windows and doors are locked, while three in five9 have a trusted person check on their home, according to QBE’s research.
“Reaching out to people who live nearby could be another great way of increasing your home’s security and also building on that local sense of community that has started to develop during 2020,” says Gow.
“The security of your home is always important, but especially if you’re leaving it for a holiday. None of us want to experience the nightmare of having our long-anticipated summer holiday vibe destroyed by a break-in.
“There’s also the emotional impact a theft can have on you. While insurance is there to help you replace your belongings, losing something sentimental can be really difficult to cope with, plus of course there’s the added feeling that your privacy has been invaded after a theft.
“As an insurer, our advice is be proactive about home security and think about what you can do now to protect what’s important to you when you’re not there.”
Weather events or mishaps over the summer
Unfortunately the summer holiday period often coincides with extreme weather events.
“A neighbour can also check your home following a storm or heatwave and let you know if there’s been any damage so emergency repairs can be arranged,” says Gow.
“We know that quick action following a storm or other event can prevent damage from getting worse and could be the difference between moving back into your home on your return from holidays or having to move into temporary accommodation while substantial works take place.”
Three simple steps to protect your home before going on holiday
There are some simple things you can do to help protect your home before you take that well-deserved summer holiday.
Gow says: “Use the security you have - whether that’s deadlocks on your doors and windows, closing the blinds or switching on your home’s alarm. Be sure to turn the key in your window locks as this can help prevent a break in and potentially minimise what is taken out of your home through the window if someone does get in.”
A security audit can be especially useful before going on holidays, says Gow, and can be as simple as:
- Walk around your property and check doors, windows and locks
- Make sure valuables are out of sight
- Before you go away, ask a trusted local friend to check on your property, collect the mail, mow your lawn or put away your bins.
“It’s a great idea to take advantage of the stronger relationships you may now have with your neighbours. If you’re not in the habit of letting them know when you go away, make mention of it now.
“After all, it could not only increase the security of your home, but may also strength the relationship you’ve built during 2020.”
1-6, 8, 9 Pure Polling study of 1,004 Australians, aged 18-65, completed for QBE Insurance Australia on 19 November 2020
7 Based on analysis of QBE theft claims data 2017 -2020