5 things you should always do before you leave on vacation
The first few weeks of below-freezing temperatures in Canada mark the start of “snowbird season”. Where many Canadians take refuge from the long, harsh winters by enjoying an extended vacation somewhere warm, like Florida, Arizona, or South Carolina.
If you’re a “snowbird” planning on leaving home for weeks or months at a time this winter, there are important precautions you should take before heading out. Enjoy your vacation with the peace of mind that your home, vehicle, and belongings will be safely waiting for you when you get back.
We’ve put together a list of 5 important things to do before you leave on vacation.
1. Arrange for someone to check in on your home regularly.
Ask a trusted friend or relative to check in on your home at least once a week while you’re away. They can collect your mail, water your plants and most importantly check that everything is as it should be. Make sure you turn off your water if you’re gone for an extended period and be sure to advise the person who’s checking in on your home where the main shut off is. It’s better for any issues with your home, such as a leaking sink or a flooding basement, to be discovered as soon as possible to help mitigate your damages. Contact your broker for specific details on how frequently someone should check in on your home. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for mitigating damages while you’re away.
2. Make it look like someone is home.
Unoccupied homes are an easy target for thieves. Even with a friend or relative regularly checking in on your home, it’s best to make it look like someone is always there. Install timers for lights to go off at regular intervals to simulate someone living in the home. Postpone your mail delivery to avoid a stack of envelopes and packages piling up at your door, especially if you’re unable to find someone to collect your mail for you. Smart plugs are an easy and inexpensive way to control turning on and off lamps and TVs from your phone while away.
3. If renting your home, notify your insurer as soon as possible.
If you decide to secure a short-term rental for your home while you’re away, you’ll need to let your insurance broker know. Depending on your policy, renting your home may be against the terms of your contract with your insurer and potentially void your coverage. Giving your broker enough notice allows them to work with you to determine whether you’re covered and that you have enough coverage should something go wrong.
4. If taking your vehicle with you, review your auto insurance policy before heading out.
If you’re planning on taking your vehicle out of the country for an extended period, look closely at the terms of your auto insurance policy. Many auto policies will insure a Canadian car in the U.S. for up to 6 months. Contact your insurance broker to discuss your policy and to ensure you have the coverage you need for your entire stay.
5. If loaning your vehicle to a friend or relative, discuss the insurance implications.
Your auto insurance policy covers your vehicle and the person driving it. An easy rule of thumb is to remember, when you loan your vehicle to someone, you’re also loaning them your auto insurance. Ensure the person you’re lending your vehicle to has a valid driver’s license and is legally allowed to drive in your province or territory. Let them know what your deductible is and agree in writing on who will pay it in the event of an accident.
Even after clearing your list of things to do before you leave on vacation, there are still factors outside of your control. That’s why it’s important to know you have the coverage you need to get back to where you started.
To get a quote for home or auto insurance, review your current insurance policy, or to discuss your coverage options, contact your TW insurance broker at 1-888-338-2685.