24 Oct How to Keep Your Home Safe While Away On Vacation
Do you know what to do to ensure that your time away from home is worry-free?
The best way to keep your home safe while you’re away on your next vacation is through proper preparation and planning ahead of time. ICNE is so confident in this approach, our team has created a pre-vacation checklist of to-dos that all homeowners should tackle before departing on their next big adventure. And before you convince yourself that this process is too time-consuming, let us assure you that most of them can be done quickly and without much effort. Plus, to make things even easier for you, we have organized our tips and tricks into three sections, allowing you the opportunity to tackle this checklist in small, manageable chunks versus all at once.
Guard Your Home While You Are Away
While on vacation, a break in is a very real concern that many homeowners have. At ICNE, we don’t like to leave anything to chance, which is why we contacted a local law enforcement officer and asked him for some pointers. Below are four security tips that he shared, to not only help guard your home while you’re away, but also deter thieves from targeting your property in the first place.
- Leave a car (or two) in the driveway. A visible vehicle will likely prevent thieves from targeting your house altogether because it typically indicates that someone is home.
- Entrust a neighbor to take your mail and packages in daily, or contact your town’s post office to take advantage of their Hold Mail service. A stack of mail in the mailbox or a pile of Amazon packages on the front doorstep is a clear indicator that no one is home, which is why this to-do is absolutely essential.
- Leave lights on inside and outside of your house. Similar to keeping a car in the driveway, lights will tell a suspicious someone that the homeowner and/or a house sitter is inside.
- Install an alarm system that notifies the appropriate officials in the case of an emergency, such as burglary and fire. Not only is this a great tip, but an at-home security system can potentially save you money on your home insurance policy as well.
Believe it or not, homeowners often overlook security measures when preparing to leave town for shorter durations, such as a long weekend away. However, as your local insurance agent, we would like to remind you that proper security is essential, regardless of the length of your trip. Therefore, in addition to the security tips recommended by the local police officer, here are six more action items you should consider doing before entering vacation mode.
- Lock all of your doors and windows
- Invest in exterior motion-sensor lights as a deterrence
- Let neighbors know that you are going away
- Consider leaving a key or alarm code with a trustworthy friend or family member to check on your home. Don’t be shy to ask them to also water your house plants, feed your fish, and walk your trash and recycling bins curbside for trash day, you never know when a suspicious person may be surveying the neighborhood.
- Refrain from announcing your travel plans on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Additionally, avoid checking in to any locations via social media or posting any pictures until after you return home.
- Invest in smart home gadgets that will allow you control and/or view your home while away. There are many options available today including devices that allow you to monitor your thermostat, view live security camera footage, and even, turn on interior and exterior lights with a simple click or swipe. However, while we are fans of this new technology, it is our recommendation that you combine these modern solutions with some of the old-fashioned security measures suggested by the local authorities. Technology while convenient, is not always reliable or even available without adequate WiFi connectivity.
Prepare Your Home for Unseasonable Weather Before You Go
As a New England resident, you know just how unpredictable the weather can be regardless of the time of year. That’s why ICNE would like to suggest the following four maintenance tasks for you to address to keep your home protected before you leave town.
- Keep a close eye on the weather forecast before and most importantly while you are away. If snowflakes are appearing on your smartphone weather app, consider hiring a local plow service or enlisting a neighbor or family member to clear your driveway, stairs and walkways.
- Protect your pipes from freezing by making sure all exposed pipes are properly insulated. If the temperature back home drops significantly, ask a trusted friend to stop by the house and trickle water out of your faucet to avoid a pipe from bursting.
- Inspect your basement for signs of water as well as cracks to the foundation. It’s important to safeguard your home against the possibility of heavy rainstorms and melting snow to ensure that your basement remains dry while you are away. Carefully inspect your basement walls and floors for any fractures and, in the event you notice anything out of the ordinary, ICNE strongly encourages you to call a reputable foundation repair consultant.
- Round up items in your yard that could take flight during a particularly nasty storm. Consider storing your trash barrels, recycling bins, patio furniture, ladders, shovels, rakes and any other outdoor tools and items inside your home, garage or shed prior to your departure.
Don’t Put Off General Home To-Dos and Chores Before You Travel
There is nothing worse than starting your vacation off with a fraud alert placed on your credit card by your bank when you charge those drinks at the hotel beach bar, or coming home relaxed and rejuvenated only to trip over a pile of dirty laundry at the foot of the stairs. At ICNE, we know how hectic the week before your scheduled vacation can be. That’s why we put together a list of some chores that you should tackle now to ensure you remain chill leading up to, during and after your vacation.
- Notify your credit card company that you are travelling, and if you are headed abroad, you may want to notify your cell phone provider too
- Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for extra peace of mind
- Dispose of any food that could go bad or expire in the fridge, pantry and cabinets
- Take out the trash in the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms
- Run your garbage disposal
If you have any questions about the tips provided in this blog, call us today at (800) 243-8134 to chat with a friendly ICNE agent on how you can properly protect your home. Or, if you like what you’ve read, and are in search of a new insurance partner, we encourage you to stop into any one of our three convenient Massachusetts offices. Our dedicated personal insurance team is eager to get to know you and discuss how we may be able to better serve your needs.