Summer is in full swing and that means vacation!

Getting ready to go on a vacation? Whether you are headed to the beach to spend time with family, or to travel abroad is exciting but stressful. During this time, you may have all of your belongings packed, your passport ready to go, and your tickets in hand but have you remembered to secure your home?

According to FBI statistics, there is a 10 percent increase in home robberies during the months of July and August. Here are some other relevant security statistics:

• Around 30% of all burglaries are through an open or unlocked window or door
• Almost 2/3 of all burglaries are home break-ins
• Homeowners and renters are equally likely to be victims of property crime
• A home burglary occurs every 13 seconds

Gulf Coast Educators Insurance offers an online guide with tips on how to protect your home while you are away on vacation this summer. Follow these tips to help secure your home:
• Lock all of your windows and doors. Sounds basic but many homeowners neglect to do this one thing
• Stop mail and newspaper delivery or have them picked up by a neighbor or friend
• Remove any spare keys from hiding places
• Remove the garage door opener from any cars in the garage. Also, lock the cars in the garage
• Install motion sensor lights at all entrance ways — front and back
• Make your home look occupied. Have a neighbor park their car in your driveway, have lights on a timer, consider running a long loop of conversation so that potential thieves will hear voices
• If you have an alarm system, then use it!
• Do not post on social media that you are going on vacation. Also, do not post pictures on social media while you are on vacation. Consider only telling a few people that you will be away so that someone doesn’t post a comment such as, “see you when you get back from your trip” on your social media feed
• Unplug your garage door opener so a thief can’t use a universal garage door opener to enter your home
• Secure all sliding glass doors by placing a piece of wood or metal in the track
• Have a neighbor or friend check on your home
• Keep your lawn maintained. Cut back shrubbery
• Consider moving valuables out of eyesight. If you can see them from a window, then a thief can too
• Lock away and hide valuables so that if your home is broken into, a thief would have to search for things of value
• Let your neighborhood watch program or local police know that you will be away
• Be aware that thieves frequently break in through screened enclosures in the back yard. Florida homes frequently have a screened in pool which may provide easy access for a thief. Double check that all windows and screened/French doors are securely locked

All of these tips can help keep your home safer while you are away on your summer vacation. It also helps to be prepared in case something does happen. For example, create an inventory of your belongings so that if something is missing then it can be documented. This can be accomplished through pictures or video. Review your insurance policy to make sure you know what is covered or if you need additional insurance. Gulf Coast Educators Insurance is happy to review your policy to see if any gaps need to be filled. Those that are renting should make sure to carry renters insurance to protect themselves in case of a burglary.

Our knowledgeable and experienced insurance agents are available at any of our three locations to review your insurance policy. To contact an agent at our Naples location, please call 239-591-0963. To speak with an agent at our Port Charlotte office, please call 941-391-5423. To reach an agent at our Fort Myers office, please call 239-931-5316. For more information on home insurance, please visit online at: Gulf Coast Educators Insurance is the leading agency for insurance and financial services in Southwest, Florida. We look forward to helping you customize and/or review the best homeowners insurance policy for you and your family. Please contact us today! We look forward to working with you.