4 Simple Ways To Protect Your Home While on Vacation

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The travel season is here. With gas climbing to $5.00 a gallon, vacations closer to home are appealing! The commonwealth has incredible options. Whether you travel to Virginia’s gorgeous beaches, camp along the Blue Ridge, or visit family, the last thing you want is to worry about something happening at home while you’re away. We can help! 

How to protect your home while on vacation

You know the basics: stop your mail, put lights on a timer, and make sure your yard is trimmed. But there are a few things you may not have considered. 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 home while you’re on vacation by following these four simple tasks:

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1. Shut off your home's main water supply.

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Our home claims expert Justin says water leaks are so costly that you should never leave appliances running anytime you leave home. Washing machines and dishwashers are a big culprit of water damage. According to IBHS, supply hose failures on washing machines in unoccupied homes resulted in claims that were, on average, two and a half times worse than those occurring in homes with someone at home.

Discovering a leak after a week-long vacation will result in much costlier damage than after eight hours of work. Learn how to turn off your home’s main water supply for summer vacations and extended travel. That way, you’re protected against indoor flooding incidents from everything from appliance failures to plumbing problems. We even heard a story about neighborhood kids leaving a homeowner’s hose running for two weeks in the yard. Can you imagine that water bill?

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2. Bring in that spare key.

Under the front door mat or that flowerpot is the first place a thief will look 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 extended times away from home ( even for daily emergencies). 

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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 faster than security protection against hacking. Make sure you're on a secure network or your data when using the app, change your passwords regularly, and use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Don’t forget we provide a home insurance discount for security devices like deadbolt locks and whole-house security systems.

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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 home's security and the valuables you've left behind.

 

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4. Get help from next door.

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, the person walking behind the house. They can bring in any packages that get delivered to your home. And maybe this is the safe place for that spare key! Then they can also 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. 
 

Does Home Insurance Cover Theft?

Both homeowners insurance and renters insurance include loss protection from theft in your home. The amount of 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're here for you

There are a few more great ideas for preparing your home for vacation, like unplugging your dryer and expensive electronics and even smaller appliances, like your coffee pot. We also highly recommend making a home inventory of your belongings to help facilitate a speedier claims process if you have a claim this summer. Enjoy your vacation and if you need us, give us a call

 

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