6 Steps To Keep An Empty Home Secure And Safe

It is well documented that empty properties are far more susceptible to damage than lived in family homes, both through natural causes and the actions of vandals. By following our 6 simple steps below, the risk of this happening can be substantially decreased, giving you complete peace of mind that your unoccupied property is as protected as possible.

Clear the post
Having letters and promotional flyers hanging out of your letterbox, as well as piled up around your door, is a telltale sign that nobody is living at the property. More than this though, it can make it obvious that nobody is even visiting with any frequency. This obviously makes the property a much more appealing target for thieves looking for an easy break-in.

Maintain your gardens
Another giveaway that a property is long-term unoccupied is a wild and overgrown garden. This is less of a problem over the winter when not much is growing, but during the summer months it is vital that you dedicate a certain amount of time to keeping your property exterior presentable. Mow the lawn, cut back any overhanging foliage and remove any dead plants and flowers to make sure your property looks loved and cared for.

Check your doors and windows
As there will not be someone at the property for a lot of the time, you need to make sure that the best quality locks are fitted to your doors and windows to make it far more difficult to access your home illegally. You could even consider adding multi-locking deadbolts to the main access doors to provide additional security. When checking the property, make sure that all locks are in good working order and there are no signs that somebody has been trying to gain access.

Consider extra measures
Where budget allows, installing a burglar alarm can be an excellent deterrent, particularly if you invest in a system that is fully monitored by an external company. CCTV cameras can have a similar effect, as can motion sensor lights at key points around the property’s exterior. If it is impossible to access doors and windows without triggering one of these systems, it is far less likely that thieves will choose to target your property.

Ask your neighbours for help
If you have a trusted neighbour or friend who lives close to the empty property it is advisable to ask them to check in periodically. Not only will this make the property look more lived in, it also means that any damage will be picked up when it first starts and before it develops into a large problem (for example a small drip that turns into a massive leak over time). On top of this, such checks will often be a stipulation of your home insurance policy, making them a vital occurrence.

6 Maintain the property exterior
Similarly to maintaining the garden, keeping the exterior of a property looking fresh helps to keep it safe from damage. Repairing any areas of flaking paint or rotten woodwork helps to keep the property looking its best, as well as preventing any expensive damage from taking hold. This is particularly important if the property has an area that is particularly susceptible to damage, such as a flat roof. The property’s neighbours will also thank you, as an obviously empty property in a poor state of repair has been proven to bring down the value of neighbouring houses.

Essential Characteristics Of Term Insurance Plans

Take a look at the essential characteristics of the term insurance plans and you will know why it is beneficial for you.

Characteristics of term insurance

Here are the essential characteristics of term insurance plans:

1.Inexpensive: One of the main characteristics of term insurance is the affordability factor. A term plan is less expensive than a traditional endowment plan. This is mainly because term doesn’t usually offer a return on the premiums that you pay. There is only a life cover that is paid to the nominees upon the policyholder’s death. If you outlive the policy period, you will not get anything in return. This is a practical contract and allows you to buy life insurance at an affordable rate.

2.Simplest: Term insurance is one of the simplest form of life insurance. It is very easy to understand and is the most flexible type of life insurance plans. You simply have to pay the premiums regularly in order to get covered for the tenure you opted for.

3.Quick and convenient: Term plans are easily available online. This makes it very easy to own a term plan. You can simply log on, run a quick comparison of the available plans and make a purchase on the spot. To encourage people to buy term insurance, most insurers have relaxed the norms related to documentation, eligibility and other requirements that previously made term insurance difficult to obtain.

4.Flexible premium paying options: You can opt to pay your term insurance premium in many ways. You can pay it up front in one go or you may pay it over the duration of the policy. You have the options of paying annual, semi-annual, quarterly and monthly premiums on your term insurance plans. This flexibility offered is another wonderful characteristic of term life insurance.

5.Flexible pay out options: The objective of any life insurance plan is to provide financial stability to the surviving family members of a deceased policyholder. You therefore would want your nominees to use the death benefit in the best possible way. Keeping this in mind, you can choose either a staggering pay out or a lump sum pay out for your nominees. The lump sum option would pay the entire sum assured in one go. The staggered pay out would divide the death benefit in parts and work as monthly pay outs. This would work as your income replacement and help your family cope with the financial loss.

6.Riders: You can add riders at an extra cost to your term insurance plan and customise it for yourself. Riders are add-on benefits that offer added protection. And since the insurance needs vary from person to person, you can buy a rider along with your term plan to cater to your insurance requirements more closely. This is another characteristic that makes a term insurance plan useful.

7.Tax benefit: Term insurance offers d tax benefits too. The premium you pay on your term plan is tax exempted and you stand to get a tax benefit of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh. The proceeds from a term insurance plan are also tax free, making it a wonderful tax-saving tool.

Even Small Business Owners Have Assets To Protect

Unfortunately, asset protection is often ignored or lost in the long list of things to do when starting or building your business. This mistake can cost you and your family when you least expect it.

What’s Involved in Protecting Your Assets?

Asset protection planning is a simple concept. First you catalogue all of your personal and business assets, such as bank and brokerage accounts, personal property and real estate, etc. Next you identify possible financial threats and then you insulate yourself from threats using a combination of different legal entities (trusts, corporations, limited liability companies, etc.) and insurance.

Properly done, this will help protect your current and future assets from loss due to the hazards of everyday life, such as lawsuits, business failures, and creditor claims.

To create an asset protection plan, you’ll need to review your potential exposure to financial loss, assess the different types of protection available, evaluate potential tax issues involved and analyze your ongoing personal financial needs, such as qualifying for mortgages and easily accessing assets when required. You should work with competent financial and legal advisors who are familiar with asset protection strategies.

Small Business Owners Beware

As a small business owner, there are several areas that warrant your concern. The first is to take financial liability issues into account when you choose the type of legal structure within which you’ll run your business (corporation, limited liability company, etc.). Once established, take care to follow the legal requirements of the entity you choose, so that you don’t jeopardize your personal assets. Some examples of this are not mixing business and personal expenses, not treating your business bank accounts as personal piggybanks, keeping necessary records, having the proper corporate officers and establishing a Board of Directors in corporations.

Personal guarantees are another common source of financial exposure. Lenders, landlords and leasing companies often ask for a personal guarantee from the owner of a small business. This means exactly what it says; you are providing a personal guarantee of repayment. If your business can’t make the payments the creditor can and will go after you and your personal assets.

Many entrepreneurs use personal credit cards and credit lines to get started. This may give you the credit you need, but it is ultimately a personal obligation. So if your business doesn’t have the cash flow to pay the bill, you’ll have to deal with these credit balances yourself. And the hefty finance charges can add up fast. Use extreme caution when leveraging personal credit for business use.

And then there is insurance. Small businesses often underinsure to keep overhead expenses low. This is risky. Losses do happen and they can quickly put an under-protected company out of business or hamper it severely. Be realistic when evaluating the type (liability, property, malpractice, etc.) and the amount of insurance you carry.

Be Safe, Not Sorry – Protect Your Assets

Depending on your individual situation, there are a variety of asset protection tools from which to choose ranging from the relatively straightforward, such as insurance, to the extremely complex involving off-shore trusts and multiple legal entities.

Seek the advice of business advisors and attorneys who specialize in this area. It is an investment in your financial security. Once you are on the wrong side of a lawsuit, it is too late to protect your assets.