How to Keep Your Home Insurance Current on Vacation

Rear view of woman in a hotel room pulling the curtains to see the view. There is a small suitcase and large suitcase in the foreground.

Taking a vacation is always exciting. Whether you’re headed out for an adventure, a family visit, or a trip somewhere warm, you’re going to be away from home for a while. Did you know that it’s part of your agreement with your insurer to have someone check in on your home? Insurance companies generally require a check-in every 48 to 72 hours if you’re away. If this isn’t done, you as the homeowner are at risk of a void insurance policy and potentially catastrophic repair costs. We’ll break down how to keep your home insurance current while

Why is my home insurance at risk of being voided?

Home insurance is meant to offer coverage in the event of something catastrophic and sudden. That’s why it doesn’t cover regular home maintenance. When we purchase an insurance policy, we are inherently making an agreement with our insurance company. Part of this is ensuring our home is not left vacant for too long. Why? Vacancy means damage goes unnoticed for longer and it can also attract vandals, thieves, and other nefarious characters.

Generally, insurers will require someone to check on your home at least once every 48 to 72 hours. You may also be required to turn off and drain the water if you are going away for an extended period over winter (and do not have someone living at your home full-time). The exact requirements vary by the home insurance policy.

How can I prepare my house before my vacation?

While it is important to remember that every insurance policy is different, the majority of companies will call for similar requirements. Even if you are away for a small vacation, you are responsible for guaranteeing that your property will be looked over from time to time. Consider organizing a plan for a trusted family member or friend to come into your house every day while you are away to make sure that your house is in good shape. They should ensure:

  • Your heat is working.
  • There are no taps running.
  • There is no water in the basement or main floor (especially if it has rained).
  • Windows and doors are securely closed and locked.
  • Mail is picked up.
  • There is no damage to the exterior of your home from a storm or wind, such as loose roofing or fallen branches.

Concerned about pipes bursting? You could shut off your water supply and drain your pipes prior to your departure. Even though it might seem trivial, your insurance company wants to guarantee that it isn’t covering a house that is at higher risk than originally agreed upon.

The older your home is, the more beneficial it is to give your house a good once-over before you go. This is especially true if you’re leaving for the winter or any longer trips. Check your roof, your appliances, and so on to ensure they’re in good working order. Make sure your house’s doors are all locked when you leave, including pet doors and garage doors. This guide offers more thorough steps for preparing your home inside and out for your vacation.

Why do I need a house-sitter? 

There is a section in most home insurance policies that restrict how much an insurer is obligated to pay out if damages are incurred while a house is left vacant and unsupervised. It only takes an instant for a situation to arise, no matter how short of a time you are away for. Additionally, damages can be mitigated if they are stopped early enough – such as if a tap started to leak – but with no one to regularly monitor the state of your home these issues can grow out of control and cause some serious problems.

It’s not uncommon for costly repairs to arise due to negligence over a long period. But as long as you are up to date on the upkeep of your home and can demonstrate this to your insurer, your coverage should remain secure.

If you aren’t certain as to what your responsibilities are, consider reading over your home insurance policy. Alternatively, you could always ask your insurance broker to clarify for you. By doing this, you can formulate an appropriate plan for this sort of situation.