Tag: Holiday House Watchers

Home Insurance While You are Away

Home Insurance While You are AwayMost people leave on vacation and really do not give a seconds thought about home insurance. While they are away or  coverage for their home all kinds of things can occur. If you are only leaving for a week, you are probably ok. However for anything longer than one week, you should really check with your insurance company re home insurance while you are away. Find out what they need you to do to maintain your insurance coverage on your home.

Some insurance companies will not cover homes that have been left vacant for specified lengths of time. They want someone checking on them to make sure that the furnace is working. They want to make sure that there are no water leaks or other damage. Refusing to cover a claim could be catastrophic. If you do have a claim, you will be happy that you made the effort to check with them first and followed their instructions.

Homes become vacant for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Vacation – short
  • Extended vacation
  • Transfer to somewhere else
  • Fire damage
  • New home construction

In many cases someone who is being transferred to another city or country for a temporary period may decide to leave their home vacant or try to sell their home while they work elsewhere. People who go on vacation may leave their home and do not have anyone check on it, or just have the neighbors keep an eye on it while they are away.

Do You have Home Insurance While You are Away

Your existing home  insurance company MAY OR MAY NOT be willing to continue to provide home insurance or may refuse a claim if you have not had someone monitoring it while the home is vacant. Many of the mainstream home insurance companies will not provide home insurance for a home that is left vacant or even rented to a tenant.

Check With your Home Insurance Company

Before you make any decisions regarding your home, check with your insurance company first to confirm they will continue to provide insurance cover. Either way you need to have your building insured for liability and also damaged from some of the basic perils that may occur. You should also appreciate that limited cover is available for your building so you should take this into account if you are doing any financial planning.

Home Insurance companies may require someone to actually go into the home once a day during the winter to ensure that the heat is still on and that there is no break in the water lines. Some insurance companies will continue to cover a home with a once per week check if the water is turned off and drained from all of the interior pipes.

Example Of Insurance Claim While You are Away

A friend of ours was off in Florida for the winter when a pipe broke in his home due to an electrical malfunction. The furnace stopped working and the pipes froze. Water gushed out everywhere causing $90,000 in damages to his home. He had to have all of the floors redone and much of the house repainted. Fortunately for him his son was going into the home on a biweekly basis and found the water break. Even an hour of water running can cause a lot of damage! The insurance company covered him in this case, however he had to prove that his son was actually checking the house on a biweekly basis. Can you afford a $90,000 claim if your insurance company does not cover the damage.

Mortgage companies for instance require a minimum level of insurance associated with any mortgage they may make available to you. With a bit of help you will be able to find several quotes for your unoccupied building. Customers should also confirm what kind of security or how often the property needs to be visited to maintain your insurance.

When you do arrange for someone to check on your home make sure they can be counted on to actually go in and check. They really should keep a record of when they go in and confirm that the furnace is working etc. this suggestion is just to be on the safe side as far as claims are concerned.

Comments are welcome about having home insurance coverage while you are on vacation! For more information on vacant home insurance, click here.

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Weekend House Watchers

Weekend House WatchersMost people do not worry too much about their homes when they go away for the weekend. What about for the week or even for longer periods? They may tell the neighbors and family. However unless there is something unusual going on , no one will check the home while they are away. For the vast majority of people this is fine as long as your home is secure. It also assumes that you have followed some or all of the home security checklists we have discussed in earlier posts. Most homes are never broken into. The furnace works all of the time during the winter and there never is a water leak.

But it just takes that one time for a water line to break and you end up with thousands of dollars in damage. Then what do you do if the insurance company will not pay? Because you did not have anyone checking on the house.

What Steps Should You Take When Leaving a Home Vacant

Consumers should always check with their insurance companies before they leave to make sure that their home is still covered even while you are away from home. Some companies will demand that a person visits every 24 hours especially in the winter time when the furnace is running. Frozen pipes that burst can cause a lot of damage. Other companies are more lenient as long as the water is shut off and will only need someone to check on the home once a week. They are all different in their requirements so call them to find out what you need to do to make sure you are covered for all damages while you are away.

There are one or two exceptions that we can think of when you may want to make arrangements for someone to check on the house and / or visit your home while you are away even if it is just for the weekend.

Weekend House Watchers – What to Do With Pets

The first issue would be if you have pets. Cats can usually look after themselves for the weekend, especially if you put out extra cat food and water. Cats are known for not over eating and can survive quite well on their own for several days with no problem. If you have an older cat that needs medicine, then you may want to make arrangements for someone to visit and provide what ever is needed.

Dogs on the other hand need almost constant attention. They need to be walked and fed and given a chance to empty their bowels etc, otherwise you are probably looking at a huge mess when you get home, not to mention a very hungry dog. They will tend to eat everything in front of them at one time. Weekend house sitters and dog walkers can help most people in this situation by taking your dog for a walk several times a day as needed.

Snow Clearing

People in northern climates may also need to have snow cleared in the winter time and people with pools may have to have someone look after their pool in the summer time. Most neighbors will gladly do this for you for a free swim in the pool and a return favor some time. All of these activities will make the home looked lived in and as if someone is home.

Even with a weekend house sitter or a neighbor looking after your home, you should still have lights on timers so that there is no perceived change in schedule. If you use electric timers for lights while you are away, it will be hard to tell if you are home or not. Weekend house watchers can also water plants, check for water leaks, make sure that the heat is on and collect any newspapers that might be laying on the front step.

Why take the chance and leave your home unchecked. After all your insurance could end up being invalid and a claim rejected all because you were going to save a few dollars. Your home and your contents are worth far more than what you would pay for someone to house sit your home or to check your home on a schedule that you have set up that satisfies the insurance company.

If you have thoughts on this subject or wish to leave a comment, please do so.


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