Just booked a long vacation? First of all, while we’re very jealous, congrats on taking time out of your busy life to sit back and relax! That being said, a vacation is no time to be worrying about the safety of your home. Whether it be theft or flooding from melting snow, it’s a good idea to prepare your home while you’re off enjoying your vacation.
Here are 4 ways you can get your home ready to reduce risk while you’re away:
Obviously, we had to start with this one – but it’s important to call your insurance company if you’re going to be gone for a lengthy period of time (usually longer than 14 days). Let them know that your house will be empty for the duration of your trip. Most insurance companies just want to make sure you’re property will be a-okay while you’re gone, but some may pause coverage on your property if it’s left unoccupied for a certain amount of time.
There are a few “tricks” to make it look like your house is still being lived-in, especially if you’re going to be gone for a long time:
- Consider stopping your mail so that it doesn’t pile up in your mailbox.
- Have someone maintain your property – this could mean shoveling the snow or mowing your lawn.
- Remember to bring in the spare key you may be hiding under the mat.
- Move valuables so that they aren’t in plain sight and away from windows.
- Save the Instagram updates for when you get home.
Whether it’s the middle of winter or on the cusp of spring, the weather can take a toll on an unoccupied home. It’s recommended to keep your home at 10 degrees, which saves you money on your heating, but also keeps your house at a comfortable temperature so that pipes don’t freeze. Consider asking a friend or neighbour to stop by – your policy might even outline how often someone should check your property while you’re away. Ask them to turn the faucets on and off, check outdoor water lines (like a hose), and double check that your furnace hasn’t shut off unexpectedly.
Alternatively, it might be that time of year where melting snow starts to saturate the ground and – hopefully not – your basement. Before you leave, make sure snow isn’t built up against your house (as it may melt into cracks in your foundation). A smart investment could be installing a flood alarm that connects to your phone – this way, if anything were to happen, you’d be notified right away. There are plenty of smart home systems that are ideal for the frequent traveller – you can control your home remotely to make sure nothing goes awry.
Let’s say the power in your area goes out, and you’re not home to manage your electronics and appliances to avoid any power surges. It might be a good idea unplug certain appliances before you go (things like lamps, computers, etc.). Power surges can cause electrical fires, which is the last reason you want to cut your vacation short. Preventative measures like this will help decrease the risk of a home fire happening while you’re gone!
It might also be worth setting timers on your electronics and appliances – not only will this help avoid power surges and save energy, it will also maintain the illusion that you’re still at home (for example, set your interior and exterior lights to turn on/off when they normally would).
Make sure you’re covered – at home and away.