News Columns & Blogs

Do some safety checks before leaving on that trip

Ahhh the holidays, the time of giving. Well, for some it’s the time of taking.

I’m referring to some home burglaries that occurred in Manatee County in December. The holidays can be stressful for sure, but picture yourself on a well-deserved trip to visit family and friends, then you get a call while you’re hundreds of miles away, letting you know thieves helped themselves to everything in your home but the kitchen sink.

A sense of violation and anger is the only emotion while packing to come home immediately. Insurance doesn’t calm this emotion but cushions the blow. My friends wanted to share this experience with the community in hopes no one else has to face this dilemma. They want you to understand what they went through, what insurance helped with and what others can do to avoid this unwelcomed life lesson.

I asked if there was anything they could do over again, what that would be? The first thing is to make sure the alarm system is working correctly. Then, make sure anyone entering the home on your behalf has his or her own individual access code to distinguish who’s coming and going and when. Don’t share the family code with anyone.

If you think having a safe in your closet is a good thing, think again. If you were able to purchase the safe, lug it home, then upstairs into the closet, then it makes sense someone can walk downstairs and out the front door with everything you put inside the safe. This was the most troublesome part of the theft because the safe contained sentimental family valuables that no amount of insurance money can replace. A homeowners’ policy has very low limitations to cover losses to coins, jewelry, silverware, furs and other collectibles. To cover these items properly requires a “floater” or “endorsement” to your homeowners policy, identifying each item and its value. Depending on the item’s value, this endorsement can get pricey so one’s risk tolerance will be tested when investigating. Their recommendation: If utilizing a safe, bolt the safe to the floor from the inside or have a permanent safe installed.

It’s obvious the thieves were smart enough to look for those who’ve let their guard down. Any of us fit that mold? Have we tested the alarm? Have we reviewed the homeowners policy with our agent? A wake up call for all of us? I think so.

Andy Gregory, co-owner and president of Des Champs & Gregory, Inc., with offices in Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch, can be reached at (941) 748-1812.