According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics around 2 per cent of Australian households (194,100 homes across Australia) experienced a break-in between July 2021 and June 2022. In the same period, another 2 per cent (or just over 193,000) of homes had an attempted break-in.
Personal items such as jewellery and clothing were the most commonly stolen items, followed by tools, then cash and bicycles or sporting equipment. Laptops, and personal electronic items such as cameras and phones, credit cards and TVs are also attractive to thieves.
The tips below can help reduce the chances of a break-in and the stress that comes with it, such as filing a police report, making an insurance claim, taking time off work and feeling unsafe in your own home.
Security for your home
Security tools discourage thieves
According to ACT police, most homes that are broken in to do not have a security alarm. Thieves will often scope out the level of security at a property before attempting to break in, so having external security measures can help prevent a break-in. You can choose to have a full system installed with stickers located on doors and windows stating the property is protected, or outdoor security cameras pointing at key entry points or a video doorbell which can provide live video of what's happening at your front door. Essentially, burglars don’t want to be seen so anything with a camera will be a deterrent.
Change the locks & keep your keys safe
Changing the locks after you've moved into a new home can make your property much more secure. You should also change the locks if you think they may have been tampered with or damaged, whether through a previous break-in attempt or otherwise.
If you or another resident lose any keys to the property you should also consider replacing the locks and sets of keys entirely. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your home.
In addition, never hide your keys under the doormat, in a meter box, under a pot plant or another obvious place. If you must store a key outside, make sure it’s in a lock box that’s fixed to your property and out of sight – such as low to the ground behind a bush at the side or back of your house.
Light up your home
Thieves look for dark places to hide and scope out a property, so ensuring your outside space is well lit can prevent your home from being targeted. Consider installing motion sensor lights outside as they flood the space with light after sensing movement, exposing potential intruders. They can also be timed to go on at certain hours such as dusk or dawn when light is poor.
If you're going away you can use a timer switch to turn your lights on and off at night so it appears you're home. You can also use a timer switch for TV to create more light and a bit of noise too.
Protect your valuables
If you own any valuables make sure they're hidden away where burglars can't easily spot them.
This is especially true for valuables such as jewellery, laptops and handbags sitting on benches, tables or by a window where they can be seen from outside. Easily identifiable items are a huge incentive for thieves so they're best hidden from view. Either move them to a more secure location or if it's hard-to-move item such as a TV, pull the blinds or draw the curtains when you're not home.
Insure your home and contents
Home and contents cover can help to financially protect your personal belongings and property against home burglary. Depending on the terms of the policy you hold, in the event of theft you can lodge a claim for the cost of stolen items and any parts of your home damaged during the break in, such as windows or doors.
If you're renting or own a strata-managed property you can take out contents insurance to cover personal belongings, and parts of your home's interior such as light fittings, curtains and blinds that you have installed.
For ANZ Contents insurance or ANZ Home and Contents insurance, generally you are covered up to the contents sum insured or limits set out in your policy. For some contents there are specific limits, such as for valuables (for example, an engagement ring and watch) the most the policy will pay is $2,500 in total. However you can get separate optional cover with increased limits for some items under the 'Valuable Contents – inside your home' option. You can nominate the value to ensure you are getting the right coverage for the right amount. Be sure to read the product disclosure statement to understand what items can be covered under this option.
As theft or damage can occur outside of your home you can also take out Portable Contents insurance as an optional extra to ensure important items such as your engagement ring, mobile phone or laptops are covered.
Be sure to read the product disclosure statement to understand what items can be covered under these optional extras and limits and exclusions that apply.
What does contents sum insured mean?
When you take out home insurance, you must nominate the replacement value of your contents at today's prices. This is called the 'sum insured' and is listed on your certificate of insurance, and is the maximum amount an insurer will pay out.
We've given you some tips on how to prevent a break-in, security for your home and how to protect your valuables. Below are more suggestions for improving every day security around your home.
Tips for every day security
Lock up when you leave
Every time you go out, make sure all doors that lead outside have been locked and any easy-to-access windows are properly secured. You may think a thief can't jump up to your balcony but thieves can find a ladder or wheelie bin to help them climb up.
Keep your garage door closed even when you're home. Not only is this another avenue for thieves to get into your property but it can give them a good idea of the kinds of valuables in your home – especially if you have an expensive car parked inside. Leaving your garage door open can also present an opportunity to steal expensive items stored there such as golf clubs, power tools or bikes.
Make your home look lived-in
A pile-up of mail, unkempt lawns and bins that haven't been taken out or have remained on the kerb for some time gives thieves a sense no one has been home for a while.
To lessen the chance of a thief breaking in you might want to ask a friend or neighbour to collect your mail while you're away, and arrange for someone to maintain your lawn and bins.
Get friendly with your neighbours
Your neighbours can keep an eye out while you're away, collect your mail and report any suspicious activity going on around your home. You can return the favour if they go on holiday.
ANZ Smart Choice Super.
Set up in just five minutes,
in app or online.