Protecting a vacation home from burglary, vandalism and natural disasters is one of the biggest challenges that owners of these properties face. Second homes are usually far away from first homes, which makes the challenge of securing the property that much more complex.
Fortunately, there are many new technologies that can help keep your vacation home safe and secure. You can arm and disarm your vacation rental from anywhere in the world, welcome guests to your Airbnb rental and save money on your utilities by lowering the thermostat in your vacation rental when it is not in use.
If you have a vacation or rental home, you’ll want to choose home security that offers certain features and capabilities. Here are some of the top security options for vacation homes in 2023.
SimpliSafe is a good option for vacation and rental property owners who want affordable security for their property. They offer comprehensive, reliable security at a fair price. There are no installation fees, long-term contracts or hidden fees.
SimpliSafe offers an affordable solution for home security. It is ideal for owners who basically want to protect against home burglary and vandalism. This system would be a great choice for someone who owns a second home that is used seasonally and not rented out. SimpliSafe provides exceptional security for homes that are unoccupied. There are multiple backup protections available, which keeps the system online even in the event of intentional tampering or a natural disaster. SimpliSafe offers customized packages for different sized homes, which is great for vacation or second homes.
Vivint offers comprehensive and professional security for vacation and rental homes. The Vivint doorbell camera lets you see when guests arrive and leave. You can also use the doorbell camera to monitor whether or not guests are bringing pets into your home or how many people are coming and going from your rental. This help provides protection against having unauthorized guests or pets in your vacation rental.
You can also communicate immediately with your guests using the Vivint Ping Camera. It features two-way talk so if your guests need more towels, they can quickly and easily let you know. Vivint also allows you to eliminate key exchanges. Guests simply enter a unique keyless entry code into the lock to access the property. This feature significantly enhances security as guests will not be able to access the property after they have checked out.
Vivint has a lot to offer vacation and rental property owners. Smart cameras, connected thermostats and environmental protection are just a few of the options. That said, Vivint’s equipment and monthly monitoring fees are quite pricey. Additionally, you’ll have to pay for expensive equipment upfront or commit to a monthly monitoring contract. However, if you own a valuable vacation rental or second home, the cost of Vivint’s services and equipment may be well worth the protection that you get.
Frontpoint offers customized home security for vacation rental homes. You can choose the level of protection that you want depending on the size of your home. Frontpoint features easy, DIY installation, a portable system that you can take with you and 24/7 professional monitoring. Frontpoint offers three different monitoring plans so you can choose the level of protection that you need for your vacation home.
Frontpoint offers many features and services that are ideal for rental properties like remote video monitoring, environmental protection, automated door locks and more. However, it is important to note that you will be required to purchase the highest priced plan to take advantage of these features. Even so, Frontpoint is an excellent choice for rental and vacation properties.
Cove security systems make solid watchdogs for vacation homes because their plans and equipment are relatively cheap, without stinting on quality. According to our studies, you can rig a small home for under $200 (plus monthly monitoring fees which start at $14.99).
Homeowners will also be able to monitor their summer homes from afar with live video feeds on the Cove app and rest assured that if the power ever goes down, their Cove security systems will remain operational thanks to Cove’s professional cellular monitoring courtesy of Verizon.
Having a vacation home is a lot of fun, but when you’re not there, your second residence is at higher risk for damage and theft. That’s why most home insurers require special policies for vacant homes. Cove’s monitored alarm systems can offset some of those expenses by qualifying you for protective devices discounts for environmental and intrusion sensors.
Speaking of which, Cove makes a particularly good choice for summer homes because equipment is at the cheap end of the spectrum and monitoring doesn’t require Wi-Fi or a landline.
Cove’s Basic plan (no contract or cancellation fees) is $14.99 per month. That’s considerably cheaper than most comparable plans we’ve seen with professional cellular monitoring, i.e. monitoring by 4G LTE.
As for equipment, most vacation homes aren’t palaces, so you should be able to nab an entire Cove system for under $200. (If you do have more space to secure, Cove is also one of our top large home security systems.) Either way, if you want some insight into how Cove performs in the field, read our hands-on Cove review.
Even though Cove’s Basic plan comes with RapidSOS for quicker, more detailed information sharing with emergency specialists and first responders, we recommend Cove Plus ($24.99) for vacation homes because that’s the plan that gives you access to live camera feeds via Cove’s smartphone app (and it’s also RapidSOS enabled). For an in-depth look at all Cove’s security features, check out our Cove cost guide.
A home security system can make it easier for both guests and property owners. These systems allow you to completely automate vacation rental access. A smart security system lets you do things like confirm your Airbnb guests’ arrival via doorbell cameras, control the temperature of your rental remotely with smart thermostats and lock and arm your home security system after guests depart.
Vacation homes can be a target for vandals and burglars because they are often unoccupied for long periods of time. Additionally, many are located in remote areas where there may not be a lot of security. If you own a vacation home, it's important to take the proper security precautions to protect your vacation home.
Ever forget to lock the door when you leave your house?
Of course you have — we all have, at one time or another, forgotten an important task like this. It’s just part of being human. Many times, it’s because we’re distracted by something else — an exciting trip we’re going on, a big work presentation, a meeting with the kids’ schoolteacher. We usually remember later – but sometimes, it’s too late by then.
Securing our home while we’re away does require some forethought and planning. But trust us when we say, it is not something you want to do halfway. The last thing we want, after all of our careful planning and saving to take that hard-earned vacation, is to feel nervous and anxious the whole time.
So we’ve taught ourselves to pre-empt the distractions. We make a checklist, which usually varies according to how long we’re going to be gone. We also set reminders on our phones to check in on our security cameras once a day. Many security systems we test nowadays have “away” mode, which means we can set it to perform a series of tasks while we’re gone, like turning on our smart lighting at dusk every day. These types of smart automation features are also critical for folks who own AirBnB rentals, vacation homes, and second homes.
And beyond all those handy automations, there’s nothing like having real-time protection, too. The last time we took a vacation, we received a motion alert from our Ring Doorbell that showed a package being delivered — earlier than we expected. Since it contained a pretty valuable item, we simply asked our next-door neighbor to hold onto it for us until we returned.
With a security system for your vacation or rental home, you can secure and protect your property and guests even when you can’t be there in person. The following features are some of the most important for vacation home security systems.
Live in Cape Cod but have a lake house in California? No problem. If you own a vacation home or rental property, Arm/Disarm Security just might become your new favorite feature. Control your system from afar with the push of a button, and receive helpful mobile alerts when rental guests check out. Welcome to total home protection, from anywhere, anytime.
Smart door locks are no longer a luxury, these devices are a necessity for vacation home owners and Airbnb hosts. When your property is outfitted with smart door locks, enjoy remote locking and unlocking from anywhere in the world. You can also issue and revoke virtual keys to your guests. This streamlines the check-in and check-out process, and ensures everyone feels safe and secure.
The best vacation home security systems deliver mobile alerts straight to your smartphone or other device. Rest assured, if a security breach occurs, you’ll be the first to know. Set custom alerts to be notified when a guest leaves the door unlocked, when your doorbell camera senses activity, or when motion is detected inside your vacant home. Mobile alerts — don’t go without them.
Remotely tap into your vacation home security and automation system with Remote Access. Combined with Mobile Alerts, this feature allows property owners and Airbnb hosts to access, monitor, and control their digs from afar. Lock and unlock your doors, set the lighting just so, and even close a garage door that was left open. Get the keys to your kingdom with remote access.
Entryway Sensors are a standard feature for vacation home security systems. These sensors are mounted on doors and windows. They link with your mobile app, allowing you to keep tabs on guest check-ins and check-outs. When your property is vacant, you can alarm the system and receive instant alerts in the event of a security breach. Secure your vacation home with entryway sensors.
A must-have feature for comprehensive vacation home protection, Motion Detectors are mounted inside your property. They use infrared technology to detect motion and send burglars running for the hills. The various types deliver impressive functionality like built-in temperature sensors, automatic video recording when motion is detected, and automatic smart light activation. Go with motion detectors for a well-rounded vacation home security experience.
Customize your vacation home alarm with Specialized Alert Zones. Many Airbnb hosts and vacation rental owners want to limit access to certain rooms in their home. And who can blame them? This feature uses motion detectors and cameras to alert you if a guest (or burglar!) crosses a preset threshold. Keep your art, jewelry, or gun collection safe with Specialized Alert Zones.
Believe it or not, lights can deter criminals faster than anything. A great addition to any vacation home security system, smart lights offer a range of impressive functions. Create custom lighting zones to give the illusion your property is occupied, allow guests to adjust lighting as they wish, and even save on energy costs with automatic turn-off when guests leave. Get smart with smart lights.
It happens. A guest checks out and leaves your garage door wide open. Oops. Safeguard against home intruders with an automatic garage door open/close feature. This lets you take total control of your garage door from anywhere in the world, with the simple swipe of a finger on a mobile app. You can also issue and revoke permissions to guests.
As Managing Editor for SafeHome.org, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles in home security. His expertise is in smart home automation and home protection with thousands of hours of testing and research under his belt. Formerly a reporter and producer for the USAToday network, Rob has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. He holds a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on writing from the University of Montana, and he currently lives in the Reno/Tahoe area of Nevada.