SOURCE: AAA Texas

August 07, 2006 01:01 ET

AAA Texas Offers Tips for Keeping Home Safe During Summer Vacation

HOUSTON, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 7, 2006 --While August is the most popular time for summer vacations, it can also provide more opportunities for home break-ins. AAA Texas reminds vacationers that taking a few simple precautions can reduce the risk of home burglary.

"Residential burglaries are most likely to occur if the residence appears to be unoccupied and if access seems relatively easy," said Vic Ganino, vice president of insurance for AAA Texas. "Homeowners can take a few simple steps to help deter burglars."

"It is important that homeowners ensure that their home will be covered by insurance while they are on vacation," added Ganino. "Be sure that policy payments are up to date. Also, ensure that the insurance company is on strong financial footing. For example, policyholders of Texas Select Lloyds Insurance Company will see their policies cancelled on August 23 because the company has been placed into receivership by the state insurance commissioner. It would be sad for a vacationing homeowner to return to a burglarized or damaged house and discover that their policy won't cover any damages."

AAA Texas offers the following tips to help keep your home safe while you're vacationing:

--  Double-check all door and window locks, and invest in slide lock
    protection for sliding-glass doors, a frequent point of entry for burglars.
    Garage windows and doors should also be secured.
    
--  Ask a trusted friend to stop by your home at different times if
    possible while you are away, or to be a house sitter. Ask them to turn on
    lights at night, or consider buying a light timer set for every evening.
    Setting up multiple timers in alternating rooms works best. Radio timers
    are also a good idea.
    
--  Temporarily cancel newspaper subscriptions and postpone mail delivery.
    
--  Engrave your name on your large valuables. It makes them less
    attractive to burglars, and also assists with quicker identification if
    they are stolen and recovered.
    
--  Consider installing an alarm system, which can serve not only as
    protection but may qualify you for a discount on your homeowner's
    insurance.
    
--  Consider parking your second vehicle in your driveway while you are
    away. If you will be away for more than a week, ask a friend to change the
    position of the car a few times during your absence.
    
--  Remove garage door openers from cars parked outside.
    
--  Move expensive electronic equipment away from the windows where it is
    easily visible.
    
--  Don't give your house a "closed-down" look by completely shutting
    drapes and blinds.
    
--  Make certain your homeowners insurance is paid and the policy suits
    your current needs.
    
--  Arrange for lawn service if your trip will be longer than one week.
    
--  Never leave spare keys "hidden" under doormats or anywhere outside the
    house.
    
--  If you're departing from a local airport, don't expose personal
    addresses on your luggage tags. Use a business address instead.
    
Consumers may request quotes for homeowners insurance by visiting AAA Texas Web site at www.aaa.com or by stopping by one of 25 district offices.

AAA Texas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, has been serving Texans since 1902. Today, more than a million AAA Texas' members benefit by the organization's roadside assistance service, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing, trip planning services, and traffic safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on AAA Texas' web site at www.aaa.com.

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