Don’t leave home without…notifying your insurance company?

June 14, 2021

If you’re from a certain era (like the one before smoke detectors), leaving your house for summer vacation usually began with Dad asking “did somebody check the burners on the stove?” somewhere on the outskirts of town,  as if this act of neglect might have you returning to a house reduced to ashes and rubble. Nowadays, we have Amazon Alexa and a whole host of home security services that allow us to leave the (Google) nest with some peace of mind.

What about your home insurance, though? If you leave for a prolonged vacation or even a seasonal residence in another country, does your insurance coverage change? Could you come home to a ransacked house—only to find out that your coverage is inadequate?

If you’re leaving your home for an extended period—anything past two weeks— inform your insurance broker immediately so that you can go over whatever exclusions there might be in the fine print of your policy. Some policies can elapse in as short as four days from your departure unless you reach out and talk to your agent. Assign (or hire) someone—your best bet might be a friendly neighbour— to come by and check on your property several times each week to ensure that nothing is amiss. Keep records of those visits. Do you live in a cold climate? Either have the public utility turn off the water to your premises. Burst pipes can cause considerable damage – all of that backed up water has to go somewhere – and insurance companies don’t like tardy flood claims. Once mould and rot set in, the very structure of your home might be seriously compromised. If you live in a residential neighbourhood, inform your alarm company so that the neighbours aren’t subjected to squawking sirens 24/7 if a bear wanders into the backyard. Lastly, you can have a monitoring company monitor your dwelling while you are away. This would require sensors set up in your home in order to do so (I.e. Nest).                                      

Other pre-trip plans include: having someone pick up your mail if you have an exterior box. Ensure that couriered packages are available for pickup on arrival or returned to sender. Leave your second car in a carport or driveway so that intruders might think your home. And seriously, do not depend on the kindness of neighbours to keep your home secure; consider installing or upgrading your cameras and security system. Finally, inform a few close friends of where you’re going, but maybe hold off on the social media posts if at all possible—especially if your Facebook followers number into four figures. Valuable jewellery, coins, art or antiques should be kept in a safety deposit box at your bank or a highly-secured cabinet in your home.                       

Making your palace into a fortress might seem like overkill, but no one wants to come back from vacation to an unexpected, potentially costly situation. As with most insurance issues, vigilance pays off.  

Our Insurely Guide’s are always around to answer your questions and we try to make it light and easy for you to understand. Schedule a call with us so we can answer all your questions.