Clever new ways to protect your home that you've never heard of

Sarah Coles
Burglar prying window open with crowbar
Burglar prying window open with crowbar

Leaving your home unoccupied for long portions of the day is a stressful business. Half of us worry about it on a daily basis, while 60% waste precious holidays stressing our about whether our home is OK. Some 76% of people say that burglary is their biggest concern. Of course worrying isn't doing us much good - what we need is clever new ways to keep our home safe.

See also: The ten weirdest home insurance claims

See also: New rules on insurance renewals to make it easier to compare deals

See also: Lighter evenings make it easier for burglars, analysis suggests

The advice about protecting our home while we are away has been the same for years. It's still important to lock the house up securely, invest in a burglar alarm, keep lights on a timer, and store valuables out of sight. However, the research goes to show that even when we've taken the obvious precautions we're still worrying about home security

Fortunately, nowadays we can go a bit further, because new technology has provided more sophisticated ways to protect our homes. Here are five of our favourites:

1. Get smart bulbs
The old-school solution is to set your light on a timer when you're out. The trouble is that any burglars casing the joint will easily spot a pattern (especially if it's always the same couple of lamps coming on at the same time). Instead you can invest in wifi connected light bulbs. They come with an app, so you can programme up to 50 lights as you want, and control them from anywhere. You can even set them to monitor your phone, so that any time you leave the house with it, the wifi bulbs spring into action.

2. Consider a camera
You don't need to wire something complex up nowadays, because there are a huge number of them on the market that connect a camera up to your phone, so you can check it at any time and get alerts if anything unexpected happens. In many cases, recordings are also sent to the cloud, so the thieves can't just steal the camera to protect themselves.

3. Try sensors
This one comes from Neos - the insurer behind the statistics. It offers eight smart home sensors and a wireless indoor camera at no extra cost, on top of the home insurance premium. The sensors can detect and help prevent fire, theft, and water leaks, and provide real-time updates to your smartphone via the Neos app. If the sensors pick something up, they also provide an emergency home assistance team who can sort the problem out for you, even if you're away.

4. Buy a smart alarm
There are a few around, which don't just trigger an alarm when they sense motion. They also analyse changes in your home and send alerts when anything unexpected happens - including increases in temperature. The system also includes a camera, so if the alert goes off, you can just check the camera stream to make sure everything is OK.

5. Consider wifi sensors
The very newest technology uses wifi signals in your home to check for burglars. The idea is that the signals are already bouncing around the house, off furniture and anything else in the property. The system monitors those patterns when you're out, and when they are disturbed by movement, they alert you via the app. The advantage is that they can keep an eye on large parts of your home - rather than being limited to coverage from a camera.