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Don't let your home be the target for thieves - and get your home insurance in place to be on safe side

Let's face it - houses are full of things that thieves would love to get their hands on. So it's important to do what you can to put them off ever trying to break in. Here we cover the top things you can do to deter them. But to make sure you're covered in case they do manage to steal something, or damage your house when trying, make sure you're covered with home insurance.

Follow these tips and help protect your home from opportunistic thieves. And while you're at it check out some home insurance online quotes.

1. Install a security system Perhaps the most obvious step to take when securing your home against burglars. But it's with good reason too. When faced with a functioning alarm system, thieves will most likely move on to someplace else.

If you don't want to spend money on a burglar alarm, you can always find mock alarm boxes, which look as though you have one installed, but in fact they are just a decoy.

2. Check your windows Make sure you repair or replace any cracked or broken windows, even if it's just a wonky uPVC unit that doesn't close properly. Anything of this sort is an open invitation to thieves. It's also a good idea to keep any shiny, cool valuables away from the windows. You wouldn't want to tempt burglars to break in.

3. Keep a light on Having a light near your front and back doors is another great deterrent. It could be a motion sensor light which will help save on electricity costs too. But sometimes these kinds of lights go on with the slightest bit of movement, whether that's a cat or a moving tree branch. So you could consider using heat-sensing lights instead. They turn on only when they detect human body temperature.

Another thing to consider is using a low wattage light, since they don't cast as many dark shadows that thieves could hide under.

4. Maintain your garden If you've got overgrown trees and shrubs, cut them back so they're nice and tidy - otherwise thieves could potentially take cover under them and hide. You could even try planting some thorny bushes near first story windows to put off thieves too.

But to be on the safe side, make sure your home and contents insurance policy gives you enough cover - in the unfortunate event that someone does break in.

5. Pretend to be a burglar It might sound odd, but put yourself in a thief's shoes. Take a walk around your property and think, 'if I were a burglar, how would I break in?' Would it be the kitchen window? Or using the bins to get access to upstairs? It's also handy if you have a friend or neighbour do the exercise with you. They might spot things you miss.

Following these simple tips could help make you less of a target to thieves. But unfortunately, you can never prevent everything from happening. So this is why it's worth making sure your home and contents insurance is in place - just in case some opportunistic burglar does target your home.