How to Protect Your Home from Theft While on Vacation

Happy couple traveling by plane and taking a selfie with a cell phone while smiling to post on social media

If preventing a break-in at your home is a top priority for you, consider how your social media activities could play a factor.

While you may want to post that perfect selfie on vacation to let everyone know that you are living your best life, doing so may be putting your home security at risk by unintentionally inviting a potential break-in.

In 2022, a Léger survey commissioned by Allstate found that 62% of respondents were planning to get away that summer. For about two-fifths of respondents (42%), that would be their first trip since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

As a matter of fact, an international survey by travel company found that about two-thirds of Canadians (61%) were planning to go big on their next trip with a “no regrets” style of travel. 

What Do The Stats Say About Social Media Usage?

How Can Social Media Contribute to the Likelihood of a Home Break-in?

Simple Social Media Tips To Lower The Likelihood of Break-Ins While on Vacation

What Other Ways Can I Reduce the Likelihood of a Home Break-in?

How Can Insurance Help With Travel?

What Do The Stats Say About Social Media Usage?

Technology makes it incredibly easy to share your life in real time on social media sites.

In fact, of the Canadian respondents in the Allstate-commissioned survey that identified themselves as active social media users, 46% of 18-34-year-olds said they post to social media before or during a trip. Some even say they prioritize sharing on social media over keeping their home secure.

How Can Social Media Contribute to the Likelihood of a Home Break-in?

Posting on Social Media Could Be Putting the Security of Your Home At Risk 

According to that Léger survey, almost one out of three respondents who are active on social media (29%) say they post about their vacation plans before or during a trip. More precisely, 10% post in anticipation of their trip to share their travel plans, and 24% post during the trip to reveal that they’re away.

However, doing so lets those who see your content know that your home will be or is unsupervised for a certain period.

For example, some people may choose to geotag their photos, and while most smartphones and digital cameras can record the location where a photo was taken, geotagging can reveal the street address of where you live or, when on vacation, that you’re on a trip – potentially leaving your home vulnerable for a break-in.

All of that information can be viewed by not only the people you’re connected with in your social network, but possibly by those they’re connected to as well – and beyond.

Simple Social Media Tips To Lower The Likelihood of Break-Ins While on Vacation

Wait Until You are Home to Post Pictures

If you’re planning on leaving your home for a trip, avoid showing your excitement online on social media posts before or during your travels.

You can still post that Instagram-perfect selfie – it’s simply best to wait to do so when back home. Also try to avoid telling people, other than trusted neighbours and family or friends, that you’ll be away from your home.

Don’t Accept Friend/Follower Requests From People You Don’t Know

Some criminals may send friend requests to their next target to search for information regarding out-of-town trips.

For Your Current Followers

Check the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts and use them to determine who has access to your personal information. With Facebook, for example, you can set the parameters to only allow “friends” access to detailed personal information rather than “everybody” or “friends of friends.”

Be Aware of Previous Content Posted and Geotagging on Social Networking Sites

Review pictures previously posted on your accounts and remove any information someone might use to scope you out. For example, photos in your social media apps may include home or apartment door numbers and street names in the background.

Educate the Whole Family on Safe Social Media Practices

It’s important to teach children about the risks of posting online and the inadvertent risk it can cause for a potential home break-in. You might also want to consider monitoring their social media use during the vacation.

It’s also recommended to shutdown and close computers, laptops and other devices like iPads that you leave behind. An expert computer whiz can hack your unused smart home devices remotely and find a way to access your information while you’re away.

What Other Ways Can I Reduce the Likelihood of a Home Invasion?

Home Security Systems 

Another way to reduce the risk of home theft is by installing a home security system, such as one by our partner Liberty Smart Home.

Not only can a security camera alert you when there is a break-in, these systems can also detect problems like flood and water damage. You can even access your doorbell cameras via smartphone to see what is going on in the house while on vacation.

Get Motion-Sensor Lights

Burglars like to keep a low profile – as to avoid being caught – so installing motion sensing lights, it makes it harder for burglars to break into your home undetected. These motion detectors lights can also shine bright enough to alert your neighbours of suspicious activities.

Appear Like You Are Home

Another way to deter criminals from entering your property is by maintaining the façade that you and your family are home. Have a family member, friend, or neighbour maintain the upkeep of your home. They can do so by:

  • Picking up your mail.
  • Moving your car to and from the driveway throughout the day.
  • Mowing your lawn.
  • Opening your blinds during the day and closing them at night.

Regardless of whether the burglar can see that other people are tending to your home while you’re not there, it may make them less likely to break and enter knowing that you have a community of people watching over your home.

How Can Insurance Help With Travel?

Review Your Home Insurance Policy

Before you leave, it may be worth a discussion with your insurance agent to review your policy and the coverage it provides to help recover from a potential burglary.

Home insurance can help protect you from financial loss, but some heirlooms and treasured items sometimes can’t be fully recovered. So it’s important to take inventory of your valuables to better track what needs to be replaced in the event of a theft.

What About Travel Insurance?

Other than keeping your home safe, there are lots of things to think about when making vacation plans. Before packing your bags, look into what you should know about travel insurance before you travel this year.

For more information about travel insurance, be sure to talk to an agent to explore what’s right for you. 

Léger was commissioned by Allstate to conduct a survey among Canadians to find out their travel plans for the summer. In order to meet research objectives, a web survey was conducted May 6-9, 2022, among a sample of 1,534 Canadians of which 1,076 are active on social media, aged 18 and over. To ensure a representative sample of the population, the results were weighted according to the gender, age, mother tongue, province, education and the presence of children in the household.

Disclaimer: The information provided and opinions expressed in this content are based on research and interviews conducted on behalf of Allstate Canada. The interviewees are acting on their own behalf and are not responsible for any personal, professional or ethical liability. This information is provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as cybersecurity, legal or insurance advice.