With summer comes longer days and warmer weather – the perfect time of year to plan a family getaway. Choosing a destination, booking flights, reserving a hotel and packing your belongings are just a few tasks that may be top-of-mind if you’re planning a vacation.
Whether you will be gone for a week or an extended period of time, don’t forget to prepare your home before you head out of town. Here are some tips from a few Long & Foster Insurance professionals.
Make your home look lived in. “Accumulated mail is a sign to burglars that you are out of town,” suggests Richard Horton, Long & Foster Insurance regional manager of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Consider having your mail held while you are away, or ask a neighbor to collect it for you.
If you’re leaving a vehicle at home and you have a garage, park it in the garage rather than letting it sit in the driveway, recommends Sarah Cox, Long & Foster Insurance regional manager of Southern Virginia.
Leave a light on in your home or set a timer for a light to automatically come on at night, so it looks as if someone is home. “Leaving the home dark for an extended period of time is an invitation for uninvited guests,” said Horton. Installing a motion sensor flood light outside will deter burglars because they are trying to go unnoticed, adds Cox.
Don’t let your yard look unkempt – make sure it appears well-maintained even while you’re away, recommends Cox. Cut your grass right before you leave, and depending on how long you’re gone, hire someone to trim your lawn while you’re on vacation.
Take extra precaution. Be sure to lock all your doors. If you have a security system, arm it while you’re leaving. “I’d even suggest calling the company that is monitoring to let them know that you will be out of town in case the alarm does trigger,” said Cox.
Hide your valuables. Close blinds in the rooms on the first floor, especially if the room contains expensive items. Consider securing electronics, jewelry, cash and other valuables in a locked safe. Keep these items out of view to avoid attracting burglars.
Take advantage of home automation. With today’s technology, you can monitor activity at your door in the palm of your hand, suggests Cox. You can do so by installing a doorbell camera and receive alerts if anyone is coming up to your door through a smart phone app. Similarly, you can ensure your doors are locked by installing a smart lock on your home and with a click of a button on your smart phone.
Don’t advertise your whereabouts on social media. For security purposes, it is not a good idea to post references that you’re leaving town. “The best time to post photos is when you return, no matter how beautiful your view is,” said Horton.
Check your appliances. Avoid damage by checking all of your appliances and preventing mishaps, such as leaks, from occurring while you’re away. Make sure your refrigerator is closed and consider closing the valves from the water supply box behind the washing machine, recommends Horton. Gas stoves, ovens, dishwashers and smoke detectors are a few other important items to check before you leave town.
Secure important documents.
Be sure to have a copy of your insurance policy on you while you’re away. It is important to have your policy number and insurance agent’s contact information easily accessible in case something does occur, suggests Horton. Leave your contact information with a neighbor, so they can reach you if there is an emergency at your house, adds Cox.
If you’re going on vacation and you have questions about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company or agent for assistance.