As the holiday season and winter weather approaches, we all have one thing on our mind: vacation! The reasons to get away this year are in abundance, but the most common may just be to feel that former sense of normalcy that we have all grown to miss. Whether you are snowbirds in search of warmer pastures, travellers looking to revisit a favourite resort, or staycationers who enjoy visiting family and checking out local attractions, getting away for a little while is essential.
Before you hit the road, there are a few things you should consider to ensure your home is protected while you are away. Whether you are new to home security or experienced in locking up for an extended time away, taking the proper measures to keep your home secure is important not only to protect your investment, but to abide by insurance agreements as well. So for anyone who has not hired Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin as your house-sitter this season, here are some sure-fire ways to keep your home safe so that you can enjoy your winter vacation to the fullest.
Planning for any trip is an exciting time and includes several activities that should be completed as part of the planning process. Make a checklist that you can use on all your future adventures. Also, check if the terms of your travel insurance have changed due to COVID 19. Decide if you will be away for more than five days and what time of year you will be travelling. If you will be away for more than five days, your insurance policy may require that you have someone check your home regularly.
If required, have a trusted person visit your home, check your policy for how often. You can ask them to record the day and time they checked the house. Your contact information should be left with the same person. You must ensure that your home is protected from all potential serious problems. These can include fire, theft and damage caused by adverse weather.
Before travelling, or at least once a year for good measure, contact your insurance agent. Ensure that your policy is up to date and that all premiums have been paid. The level of home insurance coverage available can range from basic to a very comprehensive policy. Inform them of any improvements or upgrades you have made. Always check that your insurance covers any damage and covers the loss of any items in the home. Depending on your policy, your insurance can pay for the repairs. Check the deductible level and adjust it, if required. Ensure that the insurance company is aware of any increase in the value of your home. The Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation has not updated the value of Ontario homes since 2016 because of COVID 19.
When you are away, you want to have the home appear as if you are still living there. Ask the person looking after the house to:
Depending on which months that you will be away, consider the following:
It is exhilarating to go on a trip regardless of how long or how far away. Your home is probably your most valuable asset. You must develop a comprehensive plan for your home and the contents. With some planning and reviewing your insurance policy with your agent, you will have a worry-free trip.
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