Leaving your apartment over break ? Some safety tips.

Going out of town for a few days.. a week … or more ?
Some things to consider before you leave your apartment/house:

Renters Insurance: If you haven’t already done it’s always a good time to arrange renters’ insurance for your personal possessions. Keep in mind that in  the case of a fire or water damage etc., your landlord has insured only the buildings. You need Renters Insurance to cover your possessions.

Tell your landlord: If you’re leaving town for longer than a week, you might want to tell your landlord. You might want to turn down the heat but not so low that your pipes are in danger of freezing during winter. Make sure your landlord knows how to contact you should he/she need to do so. Let your landlord know if you have asked someone else to stop by to feed the fish, water the plants, collect the mail etc.

Ask a Friend to Help: Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house/ apartment while you’re away. Give this person a key so that he or she can bring your mail in, feed your cat, water your plants. Ask your friend to stop by and check your faucets. If he or she turns on a faucet and only a few drops of water come out, your pipes may be frozen.

Don’t Tip Off Criminals on the Web: In a world where it seems everyone is blabbing about their business on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to stop and think: who exactly is reading this stuff? If you have a land phone, be careful what you say on your answering machine or voice mail too. Callers don’t need to know that you’re not home — they just need to know that you can’t come to the phone right now.

Curtains Closed — or Open? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you’re home, since noticeable changes could hint that you’re not around anymore — especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for two weeks. Move expensive items, like jewelry or cash, out of plain sight if they’re visible from the window.

The Lights Are On But No One’s Home: Don’t leave your lights on at home throughout your entire vacation in an effort to make it look like someone is in the house. Your electric bill will end up more costly than your rent and, of course, leaving the lights on is not exactly “green” behavior. Plus, house lights blazing throughout the night might look a bit odd.  Instead, purchase a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule.

Stop Your Mail:  Either place a “stop” order on mail and or arrange to have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail while you’re away. Otherwise, a week’s worth of letters piled on your front step could signal to criminals that you’re out of town. Mail left unclaimed at your home will result in new mail being “Returned to Sender”. It’s easy to put your mail on hold; that’s why there’s no excuse not to do this. Just go to the United States Postal Service website and you can place a “stop or hold” order in a matter of minutes.

Pull the Plug Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. Do this to save power as well. Many appliances use power even when they’re turned off.

Remove Your Spare Key That plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key. So reach under the mat, into the mailbox, above the door frame or into the flowerpot and remove your spare key before you leave for break.