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10 tips to protect your home when you’re away

Your trip was booked months ago, your bags are packed, and you’re ready for some R&R! Whether you’re going on a short getaway or an extended journey abroad, it would be a shame if it were spoiled by an issue that arose while you were gone.

Suitcase with inflatable pink flamigo sitting in it

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the same great lengths as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone to safeguard your property! Here are 10 simple tips to help you protect your home and leave on your trip with peace of mind.

  1. Before leaving, check that all doors and windows are locked. Don’t leave a spare key hidden outside—burglars know just where to look.
  2. Make sure your barbecue and garden accessories are out of view, and put away all other outdoor items that could blow away and cause damage in case of strong winds.
  3. Ask someone you trust to drop by regularly to collect your mail, water your plants, move your car, and mow your lawn or shovel your walk. They’ll notice any signs of break-in and notify you, or take the necessary measures.
  4. Install timers on your indoor and outdoor lights, leave some blinds or curtains open to make it look like you’re home, and put a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery.
  5. If you’re leaving for an extended period, use this opportunity to take inventory of your belongings and check with your broker to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. That way, you’ll have one less thing to worry about in the event of damage or theft while you’re gone.
  6. Store your valuables (jewellery, cash, important documents, hard drives) in a safe deposit box at your bank.
  7. Unplug all of your electronics, including televisions, computers and sound systems, to prevent damage in the event of a power surge.
  8. Check that your travel insurance includes medical, life and disability coverage, so that you won’t have to assume the costs of hospitalization or medical treatment while outside the country.
  9. Avoid telling people about your travel plans, and wait until you get back to post your vacation photos on social media. But be sure to let your broker know if you’re going to be away for more than 30 days, and ask about your insurer’s policy regarding longer trips.
  10. If you have an alarm system, remember to arm it when you leave.

Taking a winter holiday

Remember to do the following before you jet off:

  • Turn off your water supply and empty your pipes. 
  • Have your roof inspected: an accumulation of snow or ice can cause water damage. 
  • Set your thermostat at 15 °C or higher. The residual heat will help prevent your pipes from freezing in case of an electrical failure that lasts several hours to several days.