We all know you must plan and pack differently depending on the duration of a trip. But something we may not consider is preparing your home before you leave to ensure your belongings and property are safe. Before you hit the road, set sail, or take flight, follow along with these expert tips to help protect your home.
Gone fishing: Planning to be away for a few weeks
Install a home security system
Even if you’re only gone for a few weeks every year, it’s still a good idea to install a home security system that will notify you and the authorities if there’s a problem. Some systems also include fire and carbon monoxide alarms, broken glass detectors and motion sensors. Sophisticated systems even control home lighting and temperature. Just be sure to notify your security company of your travel plans.
Invest in good locks
We know you’ll remember to lock all your doors and windows before you go. But not all locks are created equal — deadbolt locks are best for all external doors and slide locks are effective on sliding glass doors and windows.
Get a neighbour to check in
Give a trusted neighbour your vacation information and contact numbers in case of an emergency. Take that house key you keep under the mat (an easy find for burglars) and leave it with your neighbour instead. Ask your neighbours to:
- Collect your mail and newspapers daily
- Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, or shovel the snow in winter
- Park in your driveway occasionally so it looks like someone’s home
Do a quick utilities check
These small steps help to protect your house from fires and floods — and may save you money, too:
- Ensure smoke detectors are working
- Unplug any unnecessary appliances and electronics including TV’s, computers, and microwaves, but leave fridges or freezers plugged in1
- In winter, turn the heat down to about 13°C to cut hydro costs and prevent pipes from freezing
- In summer, set the temperature to about 30°C
Gone to find yourself: Planning to be away for a few months
Put subscriptions on hold
If you’re going to be away for longer than a few weeks, you should put a stop on all mail and newspaper delivery.
Check your pipes
Ensure your pipes don’t leak or burst while you’re away. Turn off the water supply and drain water from your pipes and the tanks and bowls of your toilets.
If you’ll be away during winter, ensure the pipes are well insulated and use special antifreeze in the tanks and bowls of your toilets.
Gone for the long haul: Planning to be away for a sabbatical
Recruit the experts
If you’re going to be away for more than a few months, you’re going to need to rely on more than just the neighbours. You should make sure to:
- Notify police that the property will be vacant
- Hire a professional to inspect your heating system before you go
- Ask an electrical contractor to inspect your wiring and outlets
- Call someone in to check the roof and clean the gutters
- Ask a landscaper to remove dead trees and prune tree branches that hang over the house
It’s also important to call your home insurer. They will let you know what’s needed to keep your policy in force while you’re away. If your home is insured through Servus Insurance Services, you can get in touch with one of their friendly customer service reps.
When you take the right precautionary measures, you can make the most of your trip, no matter how long, knowing your home and possessions are safe and secure.
This article is provided for your general information only. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Read your policy for a complete description of coverage and contact your insurance provider for coverage and policy details. Policy wording prevails.
Servus Insurance Services – Home and Auto (“SISHA”) is a division of Johnson Inc. (“Johnson”), a licensed insurance intermediary, and is a tradename operated under license in Alberta. SISHA is not a subsidiary or affiliate of Servus Credit Union. This is not a solicitation by Servus Credit Union.
Home and auto policies sold through Johnson Inc. are underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (“RSA”) in Quebec and underwritten by Unifund Assurance Company (“Unifund”) in the rest of Canada. Auto insurance not available in BC, SK or MB. Home and auto insurance not available in NU. Johnson, Unifund, and RSA share common ownership. Eligibility requirements, limitations, exclusions or additional costs may apply, and/or may vary by province or territory.