How to Protect Your Home While on Vacation
While many have canceled their usual summer plans, some homeowners may be taking advantage of low airline fares and hotel room rates for short getaways. If you own a home and plan to travel this summer, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your home is secured while you’re away.
Consider a Home Monitoring System
This may seem like a large and unnecessary expense for a weekend getaway, but it’s the surest and most cost-effective way to protect your home in the long term. With vast improvements in technology over the past decade, you can monitor your property and contact emergency services all from your
Consider purchasing a centrally monitored system for maximum discount potential. It’s one thing to get an alert on your phone, but if you’re occupied at the beach or a show while out of town, it may take several minutes to notice and call emergency services. A centrally monitored system will automatically call for help in situations where even a few seconds can mean the difference between a loss of a few thousand vs. hundreds of thousands.
Install an Automatic Water Shut-off System
We’ve all heard the horror stories of homeowners leaving town for a week only to come home to a flooded bathroom, kitchen or basement. If you have an appliance that leaks or a pipe that bursts while you’re not home, the water damage you’ll find when you return will be significant. Not only will the
water damage the structure of your home, but it will likely ruin furniture, electronic devices, and other belongings in the house. It may also cause mold damage if you’re away for a longer period of time, which can have serious long term effects on the structure of your home and the health of your family.
Many insurance companies give additional discounts for having and automatic water shut-off system in your home. Additionally, talk to your insurance agent about changing your insurance policy to “All-Risk” coverage for your home’s contents, which provides coverage regardless of the cause of loss (exclusions apply). Most homeowner policies are written on a “Named Peril” basis for contents and water damage is not one of them.
Stay Quiet on Social Media
I think just about everyone struggles with this one. We all want to stay relevant on Facebook and Instagram, and posting vacation photos and live video in real time is a great way to engage your friends and your audience. But, as my Mom used to say, there are a lot of creeps out there. All it takes is an acquaintance to see your post that you’re headed to the airport for a week in Vegas, and it becomes a free-for-all on your valuables while you’re thousands of miles away. Consider holding off on posting until you return.
While the goal here is to prevent theft of your belongings, things like this do happen regardless of how much you prepare. Talk to your insurance agent about purchasing Replacement Cost on Contents coverage. Without this coverage, your furniture, electronics, wall art, etc., would be
reimbursed at actual cash value, so that TV you spent $5000 on may only be worth $1000 now, and the insurance company is only obligated to pay the lower amount to you. Again, for a very low cost, it’s a good idea to protect the items in your home for their full replacement value.
Purchase an Umbrella Policy
You may be saying, “How will umbrella insurance help protect my home while I’m traveling?” While your umbrella policy can’t physically prevent theft or a fire, it protects your home as an asset. If you’re in Europe for three weeks and rent a car, your auto insurance policy does not cover you since you’re outside the US and Canada. However, if you have an umbrella policy, the liability coverage from it drops down to cover you should you injure someone in an accident and be held liable. Anyone who travels internationally should consider obtaining an umbrella policy as the coverage is worldwide.
This is significant in that bodily injury claims are extremely costly in terms of medical and litigation costs and can last for years before they are settled. If you can’t afford to pay the damages out-of-pocket, then you may have to give up your home as an asset and even have your wages garnished until the amount is satisfied. An umbrella policy, starting as low as $200-$300 a year, is an essential part of your insurance portfolio and will protect you against financial ruin when it matters most.
For more information, please contact Catalyst Insurance Agency.