When it comes time to make plans to go on a trip or vacation, chances are the last thing you will be thinking about is homeowners insurance. Whether you are just going away for the weekend, or if you have plans for a longer, more extended trip away from home, it is important to think about preparing your home to reduce associated risks. Regardless of the season, Massachusetts homeowners need to be aware of security issues and potential problems that can happen when they leave their homes empty for any length of time.
Have you ever heard the quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” What that means is that by taking the time to take certain preventative measures, you can avoid having to take greater measures, such as more time and money, to fix everything that could go potentially go wrong if you aren’t prepared. The whole idea of taking a trip or vacation is to relax, so starting off your holiday stress-free, secure in the knowledge that you have done all you could do to prepare, will help you to enjoy your vacation without worrying about what’s going on at home. While nothing is one-hundred percent guaranteed to ensure that you don’t experience any problems while you are away, taking preventative measures will definitely reduce the odds of it happening to you.
Check Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
Before you leave your home to go out of town, it is important to take the time to check up on your Massachusetts homeowners policy to make sure you are properly covered. Check your home insurance policy to ensure that your home in New Bedford and all of your personal belongings are covered while you are away.
This is a great time to make a list of all of your valuables by taking a home inventory. Many home insurance agents recommend that you make a list that includes photos of your belongings. Another way to keep a current inventory is to make a video tour of your home that will show all of your belongings in case you need to make a homeowners insurance claim. Keep a copy of the record in a safe place, give it to your New Bedford insurance agent or take it with you when you leave.
Tips to Protect Your Home
Most Massachusetts homeowners know the dangers of leaving a home vacant in the winter months. There are many concerns that must be addressed if your home is going to be left for any period of time.
- Unplug appliances such as televisions, microwaves, fans, lamps and anything else that you won’t have in-use while you are gone.
- Turn off your water supply at the water main for your home, especially in cold months. Water in a pipe could freeze and burst the pipe, causing hundreds or thousands of dollars in damages. Even if you plan on leaving your furnace running while you are out of town. If your furnace or thermostat were to fail, those pipes would freeze up quickly, resulting in a potentially huge water damage loss to your house.
- Make sure that there isn’t any water left in your water lines during winter. Open up all faucets and drain any water lines, such as your ice maker or refrigerator water dispenser, to make sure no water remains.
- Regardless of the season you will be vacationing in, make sure to turn down the thermostat to keep the temperature at a reasonable level. In the winter, keep it around 55 degrees and in the summer, keep it around 78 degrees. This will prevent the house and all of your belongings from being damaged by extreme temperatures.
Make Your Home Less Appealing
Even if you are just going away for a weekend, there are certain telltale signs that burglars will look for when they are scanning a neighborhood for possible victims. Learn how to avoid making your home appear empty and you will make it less appealing to thieves.
#1 – Lighting
Make sure to leave outdoor lights on when you are gone, especially near entryways. Put these lights on a timer or use sensors that will automatically turn lights on when it gets dark. Consider leaving a couple of lights on timers in your home as well, to make it look occupied. Again, timers are a great way to make it look like someone is home.
#2 – Locks
Double-check to make sure that all windows, doors and other points of entry are properly locked and secured. If you keep a key under the door mat or in another place on your property, make sure to remove it and leave a key with a trustworthy neighbor instead.
#3 – Neighbors
Your neighbor can really be a valuable asset when you are going to be out of town. Make sure to let at least one neighbor know that you will be out of town so they can keep an eye on your house. If possible, ask your neighbor to pick up mail, newspapers and door flyers while you are gone.
#4 – Landscaping
Depending on the season you should mow your lawn and trim all bushes and trees before you go out of town. In the winter, shovel your walk and driveway before you go. Ask a neighbor or pay a neighbor kid to make sure your home stays mowed and shoveled while you are away, or consider hiring a service to do it for you.
Have a Stress-Free Vacation
Make sure to speak with your local agent about your New Bedford home insurance policy before you leave to go out of town. Massachusetts homeowners that prepare their home properly can prevent risks associated with leaving their home unoccupied for a weekend, week or longer trip out of the area. If you have any questions about your homeowners insurance policy or would like to learn more about safety and security tips for your home, speak with your New Bedford insurance agent.