When it’s dark at 6pm and the stores fill with sweaters and Santas, many people start thinking about leaving home to travel somewhere warm and sunny. It’s fun to plan, to pack for the beach, and it's easy to overlook things on the home front. Homeowners should plan for the house they leave behind. For safety and peace of mind, here are 5 travel tips for your home.
1. Garbage and Recycling Bins. Nothing says “we are on vacation” like the one house on the street without the bins at the curb on collection day. If friends or neighbours can’t help, then hire someone to do home checks.
2. Insurance. Home insurance policies have a range of requirements depending on the age of your house, the time of year, and the insurance company. Don’t rely on what your neighbour or coworker says. Check with your broker or agent to know the fine print for your policy. One of our clients spent several thousand dollars on repairs when a pipe froze, burst, and part of the bathroom floor collapsed onto the TV. They had gone skiing for 4 days. Their home insurance policy required a check every 2 days, and denied their claim.
3. Mail. You never know what will land on your doorstep while you are away. The local newspaper, a batch of flyers, or that order you made online. Arrange to have these items removed so that your home looks tended to.
4. Heating. If you have a maintenance plan for your furnace, schedule a service call before you leave. This reduces the chance that something will break down while you are gone. Ensure that you provide contact details and policy number for the maintenance company to whomever is checking on your house, so they can call if something goes wrong.
5. Snow Removal. Like the garbage bins, nothing says "vacant house" like a walkway and porch covered in snow without footprints. Arrange to have these areas cleared and your car brushed off so make your home look tended to. If you have a contract with a snow removal company, give those details to whomever is checking your house so they can call if there is a problem.
We hope these 5 travel tips for your home will give you some peace of mind when you travel this winter. We have years of experience doing home checks and are happy to give you more advice to help you as you plan your next holiday.