Tips to keep your home secure when you’re out

With the weather improving, we’re all far more likely to be leaving the house for the beach or out meeting up with friends and enjoying the sun! The last thing you want to come home to is a burgled house. Implementing some home security measures can not only reduce the risk of burglary while you’re out and about, but can also reduce your home insurance premium. Here are some useful home security tips:

  • Many burglaries happen because of an unlocked door or window, so make sure all are locked before leaving the house. Don’t leave keys in locks
  • Make sure you lock any side gates, the garden shed and the garage. Don’t leave ladders out or anything else that can be used to climb on and over walls/gates, or used as a tool to break into your home
  • Don’t leave a spare key under the mat/flowerpot, this is the first place a thief will look
  • If you don’t have an alarm, consider getting one that’s easily seen outside as this will act as a deterrent
  • Don’t leave any valuables or your car keys visible through a window
  • If you’re going out at night time, leave a light on. Install external motion sensor lighting

Going away on holiday

In addition to the above, here are some other useful tips if you’re going away for any length of time:

  • Ask a neighbour to take any parcel deliveries for you so they aren’t left sitting on the doorstep
  • Get some timer plugs put on lights around the house to come on in the evening
  • Don’t post any holiday-related posts on social media until you’re home, those 500 “friends” on Facebook will know you’re away!

Using drones to combat insurance fraud

Momentum continues to build around the ways drones could change insurance fraud. Drones have been particularly effective in fighting workers compensation and disability fraud. The New York Post reported last year that a private investigator accessed private rural property to capture images of a man suspected of insurance fraud. Though the suspect claimed he was fully disabled, the drone took photos of him allegedly engaged in heavy physical activity.

Drones can help cut losses due to workers compensation fraud by providing quicker, cheaper and safer surveillance and documentation. Drones can also be an efficient tool for collecting a wealth of information about a property. This means insurers can better document the condition of a risk before issuing a policy. Drones provide great views of roofs, siding, windows, gutters and other components with a higher resolution than satellites or manned aircraft.

Drone data captured during or after a fire can be analysed to investigate why a fire spread the way it did. Was it wind and ventilation, was it fuel, or was it a fraudster armed with gasoline?

The biggest challenge to the use of drones in combatting insurance scams is legislation. In many countries, there are restrictions on the circumstances can be deployed.

The dangers of car selfies

The dangers of texting while driving are well established. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident and, at last, the message seems to be getting through that the risks of text-driving are significant and completely unnecessary.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that a relatively new but equally dangerous phenomenon has arrived – taking selfies while driving. Already, more than 1 in 10 drivers admit snapping themselves at the wheel, with the 18-24 age group identified as the worst culprits.

It’s hardly surprising that selfies have become so popular, with celebrities like David Cameron and Barack Obama gleefully doing it. In and of themselves, selfies are harmless. It’s when a fashion develops for taking selfies behind the wheel that the harmless becomes harmful.

Driving selfies are not only extremely dangerous – they are also illegal. In the USA, an NBC investigation has discovered that over three million images had been posted on Instagram under the hashtags #driving; nearly 50,000 with “#drivinghome;” over 9,000 tagged “#drivingtowork;” and more than 3,500 tagged “#drivingselfie.”

In the UK, the Institute of Advanced Motorists surveyed 500 drivers about how they use their smartphones in the car. 9% admitted to taking selfies while driving in the last month, while that figure nearly doubles for drivers under 35 – an average of 17%. The Institute’s Mark Lewis told Sky News: “What will surprise people is the fact that it’s as dangerous as being over the limit for drink or drug driving. It has the same effect on your capability to drive.”

The campaign against car selfies was not helped when UK pop singer and face of the ‘Make Roads Safe’ campaign, Azerbaijan-born Nigar ‘Nikki’ Jamal, featured on Youtube. Jamal and two friends crash their car while singing in a video selfie. Without a seatbelt on, Jamal was in the back seat of the car as she and two friends in the front seats filmed as they bopped their heads to the music while cruising down the road. The music was suddenly drowned out by screams as the driver lost control and dropped the phone from her hand. Loud thumps are heard amid the crushing of glass and steel. Unfortunately, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development did not dismiss Jamal from her role as a safe roads ambassador.

Research conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory shows that any kind of mental, physical or visual distraction can impair judgement and reaction times while driving. The Laboratory’s Shaun Helman, Head of Transport Psychology, said that because smartphones have not been around very long, taking selfies while driving has not yet become sufficiently socially unacceptable.