With the cold weather quickly approaching, many “snow birds” are getting ready to head south. There are some factors to consider before leaving home for a prolonged period of time.
Read your policy wordings about vacancy.
It’s important to read your policy wordings about vacancy when planning to leave for weeks at a time. Some companies give a longer grace period as to how long they allow the home to be unoccupied before being considered “vacant”. Some companies have an extended vacancy endorsement which clients can opt for if they will be away from home for extended periods. Before you go away, give your company a call and confirm the details of your policy.
Prevention is best.
Take steps to prevent claims from arising. For example, turning off your water and draining your pipes before leaving for long periods will keep your pipes freezing thereby decreasing the likelihood of a water claim. To prevent robbery and vandalism, you can set your lights up on a timer so the home doesn’t look obviously unoccupied. Another suggestion would be to invest in a basic alarm system which will alert authorities in the event of a home intrusion.
Supervise and maintain the home.
Before you go away, ask someone if they are able to stop by to check on your home. This ensures any problems are caught early. It also shows activity on the premises which could prevent potential claims.
If you get a newspaper, call to cancel your subscription while you’re gone so it doesn’t build up. This also helps you save some money while you’re away.
Make sure someone is keeping an eye on your sidewalk and driveway. If there is heavy snow fall or icy conditions, you will want to make sure no one slips and falls. Even if you’re out of the country, you are still legally responsible for any injury that could arise. By law, you have 48 hours from the time of snow fall to make sure your property is shoveled and salted.
Update your insurance company.
If you know the address where you will be staying at while you’re away, let your insurance company know so that any important documents can be sent there. You should also give a contact number for where you can be reached you while you’re away in case of an emergency. If you don’t have a contact number while away, list someone close by as an emergency contact.
Ensure your policy and billing are up-to-date.
Be aware of the renewal date of your policy. You want to be sure that if your policy is set to renew when you’re away, you’ve made payment arrangements to ensure your policy remains in force.
Before going away, it’s always best to call your insurance advisor to confirm any changes to your home and auto policy, or discuss any travel health benefits you may require. At our agency, our advisors are here to help you with all lines of business, and to give you the peace of mind you need while relaxing on the beach this winter.
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