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KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE DURING SUMMER TRAVELS

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Whether your vacation plans include sunshine, mountain vistas or ocean waves, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance reminds consumers to evaluate their insurance risks and needs before setting off to recharge with family and friends this summer.

Summer travels should be spent relaxing, not worrying about what could happen to your home and possessions while you’re away,” said TDCI Commissioner and National Association of Insurance Commissioners President Julie Mix McPeak. “We’re encouraging Tennesseans to add an evaluation of their insurance needs to their pre-vacation to-do list. A simple check of policy coverages can provide peace of mind that your home and possessions are protected while you’re away.”

TDCI and NAIC provide the following tips to ensure you’re protected while enjoying summer fun:

TRAVELING

Whether you’re leaving home for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, be aware of what your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover. Typically, your homeowner’s insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you’re away from home. Off-premises coverage means your belongings are insured anywhere in the world. If you’re staying at a hotel and your belongings are stolen, your homeowner’s policy will provide protection, but the exact coverage depends on your policy. In addition to your deductible, expensive items such as jewelry will typically have a replacement limit. Contact your agent to find out what’s insured under your policy.

DISCOURAGE BREAK-INS

Making your home a less-enticing target can discourage break-ins and may even lower your insurance premium.

Install deadbolts on doors. These can slow a burglar and, in some cases, lead to an insurance discount.

Invest in an alarm system or motion-activated camera. An alarm will often discourage a burglar. Some alarm systems may result in an insurance discount.

KEEP YOUR HOME LOOKING “LIVED IN”

Put interior lights on a timer or choose a few rooms to remain lit to give the impression someone is home.

Stop mail delivery or have a neighbor collect your mail, newspapers and packages, so they don’t stack up outside.

Hire someone to cut the grass if you’ll be gone long enough that growth will be noticeable.

Leave a radio on and turn down your doorbell volume, if possible. Some thieves ring the doorbell or knock to determine whether anyone is home. Having a loud radio playing and the doorbell muted plants doubt in an intruder’s mind.

Have a locked car parked in your driveway. Another way to make a home look lived in is to have cars coming and going from the driveway throughout the day.

Protecting your home’s contents is also important. Give a spare key to a neighbor or friend to have access to the home. Avoid the cliché of putting the key under the mat, as thieves often check there. Keep important documents and expensive items in a lockbox, a safe, or at another location. Don’t keep valuable documents in a personal desk or office where burglars will know to look for them. Stow your computer out of sight to discourage intruders from trying to hack into your personal accounts.

WAIT TO SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Don’t announce your trip in advance, except to trusted friends. Talking about an upcoming trip in public settings – or posting trip photos on social media while you’re away – lets potential burglars know your home is empty. Wait until you are home to share the trip highlights on social media.