4 Simple Ways To Protect Your Home While on Vacation

By Nancy B
June 12, 2024

We pledge to provide straight talk from our NNINS Virginia insurance experts. Read the Northern Neck Insurance Integrity Promise.

The travel season is here. Whether you travel to Virginia’s gorgeous beaches, camp along the Blue Ridge, or travel outside the state, the last thing you want is to worry about something happening at home while you’re away. 

How to protect your home while on vacation

We’ve seen enough home insurance claims from unexpected catastrophes to know what makes your home the most vulnerable, especially when you're not there to intervene. You can protect your property while you’re on vacation by consider these four simple tips:



1. Shut off your home's main water supply

Our home claims team heard a story about neighborhood kids leaving a member's hose running for two weeks in the yard. Can you imagine that water bill?
Our home claims expert, Justin, says home water leaks are so costly that you should never leave appliances running anytime you leave. Washing machines and dishwashers are two big culprits of water damage. According to IBHS recommendations for preventing home water damage, supply hose failures on washing machines in unoccupied homes resulted in claims that were two and a half times worse than those occurring in homes with someone present. Imagine how discovering a water leak after a week-long vacation can result in much costlier damage than after eight hours of work. Learn how to turn off your home’s main water supply and consider investing in water leak detectors that can alert you when water is somewhere it shouldn't be.
Hands putting key under door mat


2. Spare keys and smart locks

The front door mat or flowerpot is the first place a thief will look for a housekey when you’re away. A potential burglar has plenty of time to hunt around for even less obvious hiding places when you're on vacation. A trusted neighbor or friend is a better place for a spare key for travel away from home or occasional emergencies.



Smart locks are an increasingly common part of home security systems. While we like the innovation of smart home technology, check into the software/application thoroughly before purchasing. The technology has developed much faster than security protection against hacking. Make sure you're on a secure network or your cellular data when using the app, change your passwords regularly, and use two-factor authentication whenever possible. And remember we provide a home insurance discount for security devices like deadbolt locks and whole-house security systems. Let your local agent know! 



3. Watch what and when you share on social media.

As tempting as it is to “check-in” to vacation venues on social media, remember that you’re also broadcasting to friends and friends of friends that you’ve checked out of your home. Share vacation details and pictures after you get home from your vacation and encourage your kids to do the same. It may not be as fun, but it's much better for your security.




4. Count on your neighbors you can trust


Strong Virginia communities are built on neighbors helping each other. This is especially true when you can enlist a set of protective eyes and ears to watch your home while you're away. They know what belongs and doesn't belong in the neighborhood- the strange parked car or someone walking behind the house. They can bring in any packages that get delivered to your home, safely hold that spare key, and access your home if there’s an emergency while you’re away. Don’t forget to leave them with a couple of good contact numbers to reach you on vacation. 

Other ways to protect your home when traveling

Preparing your home for vacation in other small ways will give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your time away.

  • Unplug your dryer and expensive electronics and even small appliances, like your coffee pot, to protect against power surges
  • Service your HVAC system before you travel
  • Use motion-activated sensors on outdoor floodlights
  • Put interior lights on a timer
  • Stop your mail or have a trusted neighbor collect it daily
  • Block first floor windows and lock window well covers around the basement
  • Lock pet doors
  • Secure your valuables
  • Arrange lawn care
  • Park vehicles left behind in the garage or driveway
  • Secure and lock fence gates
  • Secure exteriors items in case of severe weather
  • Alert your security company of your travel plans 
  • Consider using a house sitter

Does Home Insurance Cover Theft?

Both homeowners insurance and renters insurance include loss protection from theft in your home. The amount of insurance coverage you have will depend on your policy limits and the type of coverage. Here's how your home insurance protects you from a theft claim:

  • Damage to your Home. Coverage for repairs to your house if damaged in a break-in, like broken windows and doors.
  • Damage to your personal property. Coverage to repair or replace your personal belongings if they are damaged or stolen. 
  • Other structures coverage. Coverage to repair detached structures on your property, like a shed door damaged in a break-in.

We also highly recommend making a home inventory of your belongings to help facilitate a speedier claims process if you happen to have a home insurance claim this summer. As always, if you need us, give us a call


THE NORTHERN NECK INSURANCE INTEGRITY PROMISE — We pledge to provide straight talk and good counsel from our NNINS Virginia insurance experts through our blog. While we hope you find this to be a helpful source of information, it does not replace the guidance of a licensed insurance professional, nor does it modify the terms of your Northern Neck Insurance policy in any way. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy.