Steps to properly secure your home when out of town
(NC) With the arrival of cooler temperatures – and the prospect of time off during the holidays – many of us are dreaming of a sunny escape. So in the hustle and bustle of planning a vacation and organizing your family members, don't forget the importance of preparing your home for the pending absence.
“The fun part of your vacation is planning where to go, what to do and what to bring,” says Denise Lang, a regional vice president with Western Financial Group. “What most people forget is that making a check-list for their home is equally as important. By taking a few precautionary steps, you can make sure your home is safe, secure, and ready for your return.”
Start with this:
• Ask a friend or family member to look in. Have them check the basement for water or gas leaks, bring in any mail or newspapers and scan to ensure that windows and doors haven't been tampered with. More importantly, having someone stop by regularly can help to maintain the terms of your home insurance. According to Lang, “Many Canadians forget to check their policy for the maximum number of days your home can be unoccupied. In most cases, if your home is left unoccupied for more than three days, insurance becomes void. To avoid a costly situation, call your insurance provider before you head out of town for an extended period of time.”
• Leave a few lights on or put lights on a timer. Timers for lights can be purchased at your local hardware store for a nominal fee and can be set to turn on and off at different times during the day. When setting timers, try to recreate your normal activity to create the appearance that someone is home.
• Consider shutting off your water to prevent pipes from freezing. Normal day-to-day activities in a home generally use hot water, which can help prevent pipes from freezing. Without this kind of daily use, water in the pipes can freeze, leading to burst pipes and a huge expense. If you are going on a long trip, consider shutting off the water in advance and draining the pipes to avoid this problem.
“Planning ahead before your next fall or winter vacation is key,” adds Lang. “You'll rest easy knowing you took the necessary precautions to keep your home safe.”
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