Taking some time in advance to protect your home while traveling can save you a lot of trouble and heartache when you return. Here we offer some simple tips to ensure you can relax and enjoy your time away.
There are lots of products on the market that can help you keep your home safe, ranging from monitored home security systems to cameras you can check from anywhere. Besides giving you extra peace of mind, having a home security system can also save you money on your homeowners insurance. Don’t be afraid to show that your home is protected with window stickers or a sign featuring the name of your security system; it can be a strong deterrent for thieves looking for an easy score.
Empty homes can be a target for criminals, so you’ll want to take steps to make your home look lived-in while you are away.
- Put your mail and newspapers on hold so they don’t pile up.
- Let a neighbor know when you’ll be away, and if you are expecting anyone to come by, so they can keep an eye out for anything that seems suspicious.
- Set a few interior lights on timers to go on and off at various times during the evening hours. Motion sensor lights outside your home are also a great idea, and let neighbors have a better view of your property if they need it.
- If you will be away for a significant amount of time, arrange to have the lawn mowed (or the snow shoveled in winter), the pool maintained, the garden watered, etc.
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to stop by every day or two to make sure everything looks secure and to bring in any flyers or packages that might arrive unexpectedly.
- If you have a hide-a-key, take it in before you travel.
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked, including those on upper levels of your home.
To protect your home while traveling, think beyond theft to fire and flooding. As suggested above, having someone who can stop by to check on your home while you are away can help to spot problems like a leaky pipe that would otherwise go undetected until your return.
Do a scan of your home before you leave and address any potential problems:
- Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries.
- Unplug major appliances like computers, air conditioners, microwaves, coffee makers and televisions to prevent damage and fire from power surges.
- During winter travel, set your thermostat to 50–55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing. In the summer, you can turn the air conditioning off.
- Clear storm drains and gutters to prevent water from backing up into your home in the event of a severe rainstorm.
- If you live in an area prone to flooding, consider adding a flood sensor to your home monitoring system.
Good to be Back Home
As nice as a vacation can be, it’s always great to come home again. Following these tips can help assure your homecoming is a happy one, without any unpleasant surprises. As always, if you have any questions about your homeowners insurance, give us a call to review your coverage.