It’s the holiday season – travel time! Whether you’re going to grandma’s house or taking a vacation somewhere warm and sunny, these tips will help you protect your home while you’re gone.
Step 1: Find Someone To Check In
The first and most important thing is to have someone you know and trust check your home regularly. Things can go wrong in your house when you’re away, and if problems are not caught quickly, the damage might not be covered by insurance. Start looking for this person as soon as your travel is scheduled. This isn’t something to scramble for at the last minute.
- Make sure the home is checked at least once every two days. If the person can stay in your house, even better!
- Have your mail/newspapers are collected daily (a neighbor can do this too if your check in person can’t make it every day)
- Arrange daily checks for leaks or other maintenance issues. Most insurance policies require that such issues be spotted within a certain window of time in order for the loss to be covered.
- Ensure that the check-ins are documented. The best way to do that is to use a cellphone camera to take photos or videos of the property. It’s important to document visits even if everything looks normal. If something breaks tomorrow, you need to show it wasn’t broken today.
- Bring a gift for the caretaker! Checking in on a property is a lot of work; they will appreciate the thanks.
Step 2: Travel-Proof Your Home
Go down this list a week or so before you leave.
- Connect a few lights to a timer and set them to go on every day after dark. This will keep your house from being totally dark – a sure giveaway that no one is home.
- Don’t close blinds and shutters or install new perimeter lighting. Changes like these make it obvious you’re going away, which can make your house a target.
Steps To Take Right Before You Leave
- As you’re walking out of the house, follow these steps to cover your last-minute safety needs.
- Turn the heat down to 55 degrees. Don’t turn it completely off during the winter; if the temperature drops, you risk frozen pipes.
- Lock the house. That includes pet doors, garage doors, and windows that might normally be left open.
- Throw away any perishables if you’re going to be gone more than 3 days or so. You don’t want to come home to a rotting mess in the fridge!