The front of a house during autumn.Taking a long-awaited vacation or an important business trip soon? Planning on leaving your home unattended for a few days or weeks while you travel? Although you should already have homeowners insurance, it’s important to proactively protect your property while you’re away to prevent damage and discourage lawbreakers from taking advantage of your prolonged absence. Follow this pretravel home checklist before you hit the road to make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to safeguard your property.

1. Inform a Trusted Neighbor About Your Trip

You likely have at least one neighbor who you can trust with the information that you won’t be home for a while. Make sure to tell them when you’ll be taking your trip so they can keep an eye on your home while you’re away. As your neighbor, this person will probably notice anything out of the ordinary while you’re not around and could serve as your advocate if something goes awry.

2. Put Deliveries on Hold

One of the telltale signs of an unoccupied home is a mailbox stuffed with magazines and letters from days gone by, or a porch full of plastic-wrapped newspapers and delivery boxes. If you’re expecting a package while you’re away, contact the delivery service and see if you can put it on hold until you get back. You can also pause mail delivery to your home while you’re away; just use the online tool the United States Postal Service (USPS) provides to request this service.

3. Close and Lock All Doors and Windows

We’ve all been there: it’s the day of your trip and you’re running around last-minute trying to pack and get going on time. Don’t leave so hastily—allow a minute or two for a sweep of your house, checking that all doors and windows are closed and locked. This way, you can have peace of mind that someone won’t be able to easily slip inside your home while you’re away.

4. Turn off the Water Supply

One of the worst things to come back to after a long vacation is an issue with the utilities in your home. Minimize the chance of any damage caused by flooding by turning off your water supply while you’re away. If it’s winter, protect your pipes by leaving the thermostat on (at a lower setting) so they don’t freeze, break and cause damage.

5. Put Your Lights on a Timer

When you’re taking a trip for a long time, the best way to protect your home is to make it look like no one ever left in the first place. Put some indoor lamps or lights on timers to simulate that someone’s home. When indoor lighting is visible from outside a home, those with bad intentions will be less likely to risk the chance of being caught by someone inside.

6. Hire Someone to Perform Regular Maintenance

Whether it’s mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway, it’s a good idea to get someone to perform your usual maintenance while you’re away. If your lawn is uncharacteristically long and unkempt, or if your driveway hasn’t been shoveled in days, someone may see this as a green light to take advantage of your prolonged absence.

Insure Your Property with Us

It’s wise to follow all these tips if you’re traveling, but only in conjunction with comprehensive insurance plans. This way, if anything goes wrong while you’re on a trip, your home and assets will be protected. Contact our experienced insurance experts today to review your policy, or to help find a homeowners or personal umbrella insurance plan that’s right for you.