5 Ways to Protect Your Home While You’re on Vacation 

Did you know your home is more at risk when you’re on vacation? That’s because a problem can go unnoticed for longer, resulting in more damage. Your home is also more likely to be a target of crime while you’re away. We have five recommendations to complete before you leave on vacation to help protect your home: 

  1. Arrange for someone to check on your home every 48 hours.  
  2. Turn off the water.  
  3. Don’t set the temperature too low.  
  4. Double-check that your home is secure.  
  5. Invest in mitigation measures.  

Arrange for Someone to Check on Your Home Every 48 Hours 

Did you know that most home insurance companies require someone to check on your home every 48 hours if you’re away? If you don’t, you may not be covered if something happens.  

Luckily, all you need to do is to arrange to have a responsible adult stop by every 48 hours to check on your home. We recommend having a notebook where they log the date and time they’ve visited and what they’ve checked. They should do a quick walkthrough of the home (including the basement) and the yard. They should also pick up any mail or notices left on your doorstep.  

If you’re going to be gone for a while, it may also be a good idea to pay someone to maintain your lawn. An unkempt yard may indicate to a potential thief that you’re away. It’s also important to keep gutters clear so that they can function during a storm.  

For short periods of time, people will usually ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on their home. If you’re going to be gone for longer than a week, you may want to arrange for a house-sitter.  

Turn Off the Water 

Water is a leading cause of damage to unoccupied homes. When you’re not home, this damage can be worse as it can go undetected. In addition to having someone check on your home while you’re away, we recommend turning off your water, especially if you’ll be away during the winter season. This can help prevent damage from happening in the first place or mitigate it if it does occur.  

Don’t Set the Temperature Too Low 

It may be tempting to turn off your furnace or set your home’s temperature low while you’re away to save money and energy. However, we recommend not setting the temperature low if you’re travelling in the spring, fall or winter as this increases the risk of frozen and burst pipes (unless you’ve turned your water off and drained any water left in your pipes). Remember, your home can have cold spots so it’s important to keep the temperature warm enough to prevent frozen pipes anywhere in your house.  

Double-Check Your Home is Secure 

Before you leave, double-check that all windows and doors are closed properly and locked where possible. You should also check garages and sheds.  

If you have security features like lighting, cameras or an alarm system, make sure they’re working and turned on before you leave as well. 

Invest in Mitigation Measures 

There are many things that can help prevent or mitigate damage to your home while you’re on vacation. Here are just some options: 

  • Water alarm – Detects the presence of water and alerts you.  
  • Security alarm – Detects the presence of someone in your home. There are a wide variety of systems, but the best ones are monitored.  
  • Fire suppression system – Helps extinguish or prevent fires from spreading.  
  • Backwater valve – Helps prevent sewer backup from entering your home. 
  • Sump pump – Helps pump out water and prevents flooding in your home. 
  • Home maintenance – Keeping your home in good repair helps prevent and minimize damage. This includes keeping your roof, siding and foundation in good repair as well as regularly cleaning out your gutters. 
  • Lights – Motion-sensor lights are a deterrent to potential criminals. You may also want timed lights inside to make it look like someone’s home.  
  • Cameras – Cameras can act as a deterrent to potential criminals as well as provide documented evidence for an insurance claim. Some systems also allow you to monitor your house remotely through an app or website.

Am I Covered if Something Happens While I’m Away? 

If you have home insurance, you will need to meet your obligations as the homeowner to have your home checked every 48 hours in order to ensure you’re covered while you’re away. If you’ve done that, then yes, your home insurance will likely cover any insured peril that causes damage to your home while you’re on vacation. 

Talk to your broker if you have any questions or would like to discuss your home insurance coverage.  

Further Reading 

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