Summer vacations are on the horizon and that means road trip season is finally here. Whether you plan on spending time at a cottage or travelling across the country, you’re likely already daydreaming about the fun to be had. Before you hit the road, you’ll want to consider the security of your home while you’re away.
We talked with CAA’s Elliott Silverstein, Director of Government Relations (Insurance), to get an expert’s opinion on what you should do at home before going away for the summer. Here are some tips about how to protect your home while you’re not there.
Summer is here and with it the allure of the open road. But before you lock up the house to drive cross country, what are the first things homeowners need to think about?
When it’s time to prepare for vacation, most people think about getting someone to mow the lawn and bring in their mail or have it held. Those are always good ideas, but you may also want to ask them to stay in the home so the house looks occupied while you’re away.
If they can’t stay overnight, ask them to vary the time of day they check up on your house. When they stop by, ask them to make sure a car is parked in the driveway, garbage bins are put away, and they clear the mail from the mailbox on a regular basis too.
If you can’t find someone to help out regularly, you should invest in an automatic lighting system that turns lights on and off both outside and inside of your house. People looking for empty homes will notice if you leave the same lights on and could target yours.
An overflowing mailbox and letters piled at your door are a clear sign that no one is home. Always cancel or postpone any deliveries so that parcels aren’t sitting outside your doorway. You can also ask a friend or neighbour to stop by and collect anything that is delivered while you are away.
What about things that are always on, like utilities and water?
Turning off your water while you are away may sound like something you would only want to do in the winter, but Popular Mechanics recommends doing it year-round. This is the best way to avoid a burst pipe or a plumbing failure of any kind. Water damage can quickly become extensive, even if you have someone checking on the house while you’re not there.
A security system is a fantastic way to protect your home while out of town and can help you save on your home insurance. Before you depart, it’s a good idea to alert your home security company when you are on vacation. You’ll want to provide them with an emergency contact in case a problem occurs and they can’t reach you.
There’s always something people forget – did I forget to turn off the iron? What is on your checklist?
Ensure you unplug appliances, computers, gaming systems and microwaves when going out of town. They pull electricity even when not in use; if there is a power surge, anything on the grid could be damaged.
Open interior doors and closets to keep air circulation going. After a week, things can get musty. You’ll also want to remember to empty the dishwasher and garbage cans.
If you’re not taking your vehicle and you’ll be away for a while, put your car on a trickle charge. Although many of us think only of batteries failing in the winter, the most damage is done in the summer heat. It pays to protect them while you’re away.
Before you head off on a summer road trip, you’ll also want to consider what to do while you’re away and the benefits of checking your insurance policy.
Stress is not invited on your vacation, so keep your comfort by ensuring your house and effects are protected with the proper home insurance coverage. Speak with a licensed CAA Insurance Agent to see if you have the right coverage for your needs.