Vacations are a time to relax, explore, and create lasting memories with your loved ones. But before you set off on your next adventure, it’s crucial to ensure your home is well-prepared for your absence. Preparing your home for vacation should prove front of mind.

At Mike Lively Insurance, we want to help you safeguard your property while you’re away, so you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind.

Here are important steps to take before leaving your home unattended, which can also help prevent insurance claims.

1. Secure Your Home

Ensuring your home is secure is paramount. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Lock All Doors and Windows: Double-check that all doors and windows are locked. Don’t forget about less obvious entry points like garage doors, basement windows, and patio doors.
  • Install Security Systems: If you don’t already have one, consider installing a security system. Many modern systems offer remote monitoring via your smartphone, providing added peace of mind.
  • Use Timers for Lights: Set timers for your indoor and outdoor lights to create the illusion that someone is home. This simple measure can deter potential intruders.
  • Inform Trusted Neighbors: Let a trusted neighbor know you’ll be away. They can keep an eye on your property and report any suspicious activity.

2. Manage Your Mail and Deliveries

A pile of mail or packages can signal that no one is home. Here’s how to handle it:

  • Hold Your Mail: Contact your local post office to put a hold on your mail delivery. You can do this online or in person.
  • Pause Newspaper Delivery: If you receive a daily newspaper, pause delivery until you return.
  • Arrange for Package Collection: If you’re expecting deliveries, ask a neighbor to collect them or schedule them to arrive after you get back.

3. Protect Against Water Damage

Water damage can be a costly and distressing issue to deal with. Here are some preventative steps:

  • Inspect for Leaks: Check for any signs of leaks in your plumbing, water heater, and appliances. Fix any issues before you leave.
  • Shut Off Water Supply: Consider turning off the main water supply to your home. This can prevent major water damage in case a pipe bursts.
  • Install Water Sensors: Place water sensors near potential leak points. These devices can alert you to water issues even when you’re away.

4. Maintain Your Yard

An unkempt yard can be a clear indicator that no one is home. Keep your property looking maintained with these tips:

  • Mow the Lawn: Mow your lawn before you leave and arrange for someone to mow it if you’re gone for an extended period.
  • Trim Bushes and Hedges: Keep bushes and hedges trimmed to avoid giving potential intruders places to hide.
  • Water Plants: Set up a sprinkler system on a timer to ensure your plants are watered while you’re away.

5. Adjust Your Thermostat

Temperature control can save you money and protect your home. Here’s what to do:

  • Set the Thermostat: Adjust your thermostat to a temperature that will conserve energy but still protect your home. In winter, keep it warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. In summer, set it high enough to prevent excessive heat buildup.
  • Use a Programmable Thermostat: If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to maintain appropriate temperatures during your absence.

6. Unplug Electronics

Unplugging your electronics can prevent electrical fires and save energy. Here’s a checklist:

  • Unplug Non-Essential Electronics: Unplug items like TVs, computers, coffee makers, and other appliances that won’t be in use.
  • Protect Against Power Surges: Use surge protectors for electronics that remain plugged in to safeguard against power surges.

7. Prepare for Emergencies

Being prepared for emergencies is crucial. Here’s how:

  • Leave Contact Information: Provide a trusted neighbor or friend with your contact information and details of your trip.
  • Alarm System Checks: Ensure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working correctly.
  • Check Insurance Coverage: Review your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you’re covered for any potential incidents while you’re away.

8. Pet Care Arrangements

If you have pets, ensure they are well taken care of:

  • Arrange Pet Sitting: Hire a pet sitter or arrange for a friend or family member to look after your pets.
  • Stock Up on Supplies: Make sure you have enough food, medication, and other supplies for the duration of your trip.

9. Tidy Up

A clean and tidy home can help you feel more relaxed when you return. Here are some tasks to tackle:

  • Empty the Trash: Dispose of all trash to prevent unpleasant odors and pests.
  • Clean the Kitchen: Clean out the fridge, run the dishwasher, and wipe down counters to prevent any food-related issues.
  • Laundry: Do your laundry before you leave so you don’t come home to piles of dirty clothes.

10. Financial Preparations

Taking care of financial matters ensures you don’t have any surprises while you’re away:

  • Pay Bills: Pay any upcoming bills to avoid late fees.
  • Notify Your Bank: Inform your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans to avoid any holds on your accounts due to suspicious activity.

11. Vehicle Preparations

If you’re leaving a car at home, ensure it’s secure:

  • Garage Storage: If possible, store your car in the garage to protect it from the elements and potential theft.
  • Car Cover: If you don’t have a garage, use a car cover to protect your vehicle.
  • Check Fluids: Ensure your car’s fluids are topped off, and the battery is in good condition.

12. Plan for Return

Preparing for your return can make the transition back home smoother:

  • Stock the Pantry: Have some non-perishable food items available for when you return.
  • Spare Key: Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor or friend in case of an emergency.
  • First Day Back Essentials: Pack a small bag with essentials you’ll need for your first day back, such as toiletries and a change of clothes.

How Safeguarding Your Home Can Prevent Insurance Claims

Taking these preventative steps can significantly reduce the likelihood of needing to file an insurance claim. By securing your home, managing mail and deliveries, protecting against water damage, and maintaining your yard, you can avoid many common issues that lead to claims. Adjusting your thermostat, unplugging electronics, and preparing for emergencies can prevent fires and other damages. Proper pet care and financial preparations ensure that you don’t return to unexpected problems, and vehicle preparations keep your car safe. These measures not only protect your home but also help maintain your peace of mind.

Ask Lively

Preparing your home before leaving for vacation is crucial for your peace of mind. By following these steps, you can protect your property and avoid potential issues.

At Mike Lively Insurance, we understand the importance of feeling secure while you’re away. If you have any questions about your homeowners insurance coverage or need additional tips, don’t hesitate to contact us. Safe travels!