February 13, 2011 19:01 ET

Swinton Urges Homeowners to Keep Quiet About Their Half Term Trip

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2011) - Swinton Insurance is warning homeowners to be extra vigilant as the February half term approaches, as thousands of homes nationwide are likely to be left empty as families enjoy the first school break of 2011 on holiday.

The increase in Facebook and Twitter use among the over 40's means that more than ever before, mums and dads are announcing that they are off on holiday and therefore advertising to opportunistic burglars that their homes will be unoccupied. Rise in apps such as "Where am I" and Foursquare are being used much more frequently, making an empty house much more susceptible to theft. 

In addition, Swinton home insurance is warning families heading off on holiday to ensure their homes are locked and secure. Swinton recently carried out a survey of 1,200 online customers and found that 17% had returned from work to find they hadn't locked their door properly or not set the alarm. Should this happen when on holiday, a home insurance policy could be deemed invalid in the event of claim. 22% of customers surveyed also admitted using their Facebook status or Twitter feed to announce that they were going away for a weekend or a break.

Steve Chelton, Insurer Development Manager at Swinton, said: "We would discourage homeowners from announcing on a social media platform that their homes will be left unattended for any length of time. It is always crucial that homeowners secure their homes against the risks of thieves and also have a correct and accurate contents insurance policy."

Swinton has developed a list of top tips to keep your home secure:

  1. Plan to "burglarize" yourself, get familiar with any weaknesses your house may have.
  2. Lock up your home, even if you go out only for a short time.
  3. Change all the locks when you move into a new house.
  4. Your house should appear occupied at all times.
  5. Don't keep spare keys in the obvious places.
  6. If the entrances to your home are dark, consider installing lighting.

About Swinton

  • With over 600 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer
  • Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community
  • Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance.  

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