Protecting your home when away

Protect your home when you are way

Posted On February 15, 2021

Melanie Pasher

Written by Melanie Pasher

Account Executive, Milverton office
in consultation with Robyn Kellow, Trillium Mutual 

Shhhh… be patient, its coming!  The time when you can go and see your friend Mickey Mouse, or look out at the clear water from the comfort of the warm sand or even just walk on cobblestone in another country.

Did you know that when you are away there are things you can do to protect your home?  Here are a few:

Water

Water is a huge component of losses for people when they are away for extended periods.   Have you ever considered turning off your main water supply?  If you shut the water main off, remember to drain a tap until it is clear.  This will greatly reduce freezing or lines from bursting and will keep coverage in place should the line freeze while away from your home.

Sump pump

Does your home have a sump pump that runs during a rainfall?  By having some sort of mitigation device (battery back-up, smart device to tell your phone there is a problem, second pump) is a wonderful way to keep your basement dry.

Break-ins

Tough to prevent, but timers on lights both interior and exterior at different times of the day are helpful to mock normal activity. This can go a long way to deterring someone who may be looking from the outside to see if anyone is home.  Consider investing in smart-home security technology. Having someone regularly at the home helps this as well. Consider paying for regular snow removal. This not only makes the home look inhabited, but regularly maintained driveways and walkways reduce the risk of slip and falls on the property. Having someone maintain lawn cutting in the summer months is also helpful.

Smoke Detectors

Please remember to check all your smoke detectors in your home before you leave. Even if your detectors (or CO2 detectors) are hard wired, they usually have some sort of battery backup.  Invest in some high quality batteries to get more life out of them and change them before you jet off.

Secure your valuables

Do you have things in the home you consider valuable? Consider placing them in your safe or relocating them with someone you trust or rent a security box at a financial institution.

Electricity

Unplug as many appliances and electronics as possible. This reduces the risk of shorts that could result in a fire loss.

Outdoor items

Remember to bring in or tie down any unsecured items outside of the home. This will prevent any damages to the exterior of the home in the event of a windstorm while away or the possibility of them being stolen.

Heating

Do not turn your heat off when you leave! People do this and do not think of their pipes freezing or any additional damages in the winter this may cause. Instead, lower your thermostat and change the battery before you leave. Set it to warm up before you come home or have someone turn it up for you.

Mail / Newspapers

Are any of your newspapers or mail delivered directly to your house? If so, consider stopping any subscriptions or having someone visit your home daily to pick up these items. You could also consider having the post office hold your mail for the time you are away.

Maintenance

Have you considered what the property will appear to look like while away? If you are leaving in the wintertime, continue to have the snow removed. As well in the summer months, consider hiring someone to come in and maintain your lawn in your absence.

Check-ins

Most home insurance providers require that the home (if vacant for a short period) be checked every 48 hours (please refer to your own policy wordings) by someone. Have them enter your home, have a look around and check anything that needs “inspection” (ie sump pump). If you are going to be away for more than 7 days, it might be a good idea to leave a pen and paper on your table so that your trusted source can jot down when they were in. This ensures your coverage is maintained while you are away from home.

Windows, Doors & Garage

When doing your circle check before leaving your house, ensure that all windows, doors and the garage are locked. This will also deter anyone from entering your home.

Leave a car in the driveway

If you are a family that has 2 vehicles, did you know that by leaving the 2nd one in the driveway deters burglars? Even if you do not have a 2nd vehicle, ask a neighbor to use your drive way as it will strengthen the impression that you are home.

Exterior

Consider purchasing some motion sensing lights. This will deter any potential burglars from trying to creep up to your home. Most lights are now energy efficient so you do not have to worry about wasting a lot of energy.

Key

Do you have an exterior key hiding outside of your home for when you cannot find yours or the children come home late? Consider removing the extra key and give to the person who is doing your routine check-ins.

Social Media

Please do not update social media or post any pictures while you are away. By doing this you are essentially announcing you are away and potentially inviting burglars to your home. The whole purpose of being away is to relax and rejuvenate yourself. Post them when you come home.

Lastly…

… as your insurance broker, sometimes we find that people are away while their policy is renewing and the premium is paid annually. As brokers, we strongly encourage you as the client to reach out before jet setting away and talk to us. Ensure your policy is up to date and paid so that there is no gap in your coverage while you are away.

This also gives us the opportunity to discuss any potential risks and help ensure that we are protecting what matters to you most!

So jet off (after completing your check list) and enjoy some relaxation and rejuvenation to its fullest when you finally can.

Call Zehr Insurance brokers and see if we can help you with your home insurance needs.

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