Bags packed. Check.
Passports in hand. Check.
Pipes drained. Wait—what?
Most people spend the bulk of their travel prep buying items and planning for what they will do on their vacation once they arrive, often forgetting to take care of things at home before they leave. Whether your trip is short or long-term, following these guidelines and preparatory tips will ensure your time away is stress-free.
Homeowner Preparation Checklist
1. Ask someone to check on your house. Choose someone reliable—a family member, a neighbour—to check on your house every few days, or at least once a week. They can ensure there haven’t been any leaks or issues with the power in your home. And, if anything does happen, they can call you and let you know.
2. Stop your mail. If you’re going to be gone for more than a week, stop mail, newspapers or any other regular deliveries, or ask the person checking on your home to bring it in for you. Nothing alerts a thief more that your home is unoccupied than a pile of newspapers at the front door.
3. Turn off water and drain pipes. Although it’s more likely to happen during the winter months, your pipes can still leak or burst in the summertime, so it is best to take preventative measures. Turn off your water main–usually found in your basement—and then open your faucets one at a time to drain them.
Note: Even if your water is off, it won’t protect you from a sewer backup—hello summer rainstorms! Install a flood sensor (see point 7) and purchase sewer backup coverage to ensure you’re always protected.
4. Set your thermostat. You can leave your air conditioning on a few degrees higher than usual, but still low enough to prevent overheating.
5. Close your blinds. Don’t make it easy for thieves to look inside to verify if anyone is home. Bonus: keeping them closed will ensure your house doesn’t get too hot, which helps save on energy costs.
6. Get a timer for your lights. A dark home is far more attractive to potential thieves. Having them turn on every day—at different times—will make it appear that the house is occupied.
7. Install flood sensors. If you don’t want to turn off your water supply, having flood sensors in areas where leaks commonly occur can help identify them while in the early stages. Some sensors will alert you via text or phone call that there is a leak, while others will detect it and turn off your water accordingly, dramatically reducing potential damage. Some companies even offer services that will allow you to monitor if your heat or A/C are not working correctly.
8. Notify your insurance broker. They may have suggestions for you, and it shows your due diligence in case something does happen. Do this if you go away in the winter too, as there may be different rules or recommendations.
Tenant Preparation Checklist
1. Tell your landlord if you are going to be away. Depending on the terms of your lease, some landlords ask you to notify them of any extended absences for insurance purposes.
2. Consider getting additional insurance. Some contracts require that you have liability insurance, but contents insurance is optional. Make sure you know what’s covered if there is a leak or fire while you are away.
Travelling can be stressful, and there are plenty of things to think about before leaving. Following this checklist before you leave for vacation will provide you with peace of mind and potentially save you a headache later.
If you have any questions about the coverage on your current home insurance policy, contact us and talk to one of our insurance brokers.