If you are like many homeowners, leaving your home for a vacation can sometimes be stressful. Your concerns about a vacant home are not unfounded, but there are steps you can take to ease your worries. The two main areas of concern for most homeowners are those involving damage to the home and burglary of your personal property. Even though your home insurance will cover you for any losses or damage sustained, it’s still better to take the necessary precautions to avoid any incidents at all while you’re away.
The first thing you should do before leaving on vacation is ensure your home insurance policy is in order. If you are on an installment plan to pay premiums, make sure that you won’t miss any installments while away. If you travel frequently, it might be a good idea to consider automatic payments that deduct from your credit card or bank account when the payment is due. This way, you will not have to be concerned with bill-paying while on vacation.
One of the main concerns when leaving your home vacant is the threat of water damage. What would normally be a small water leak can turn into a very expensive claim if the leak is left unchecked over multiple days. So before leaving your house, turn off the main water line to minimize the risk of damage. If it’s not feasible to turn off the entire water supply, consider at least shutting off those that will not be needed, such as toilets and the washing machine. You also need to consider what the weather will likely be at your home while you are away. Is it possible that rain might occur? If so, make sure your windows are carefully shut, or water might enter the home and cause extensive damage.
Another threat to your home is the possibility of burglary when it’s apparent that your house is vacant. Burglaries can happen anywhere – Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland. To try to prevent this, simply make it look as though the home is still occupied, despite your being away; do not make it obvious that the house is uninhabited. Stop newspaper delivery, have your mail held at the post office, and use timers on lights in and around the home. Modern timers can be set to an irregular schedule too so that makes it more difficult for those who may be watching your home to tell if you’re actually home or not. If you have an alarm system, make sure it is armed and that the monitoring service is alerted about your absence.
In addition to taking the above precautions, one of the simplest ways to avoid the problems with a vacant home is to not leave it vacant. Consider finding a house sitter who will live in your home while you are out of town, like a family member or friend. If you have pets, this can be a great solution and an alternative to boarding the animals, and it will allow your pets to live in their usual, familiar surroundings. If, however, you cannot find someone to stay at your home, the next best thing is to have someone look in on your home regularly. Knowing that you have effectively prepared your home for your absence will allow you to enjoy your vacation without constantly worrying.