Safe&Sound: Going on Vacation? 4 Simple Tasks That Will Really Protect Home While You’re Gone

Summer is here and that means schools are out and vacations are in! Whether you travel to Virginia’s gorgeous beaches, camp along the Blue Ridge, or head out of state, the last thing you want is to worry about something happening to your home while you’re away. Everyone knows the basics: stop your mail, put lights on a timer, and make sure your yard stays trim. But, we’ve seen plenty of unexpected catastrophes to know exactly what makes your home the most vulnerable, especially when no one’s there to intervene. Discovering a leak 8 days after a vacation can result in much costlier damage than discovering it 8 hours after work. So, do your best to prevent an issue at home while you’re gone by following these simple 4 home protection tasks:

1. Shut off the Main Water Supply

Justin, our home claims expert, says water leaks are so costly that you should never leave appliances running anytime you leave home, but washing machines are the major culprits of problems. According to IBHS, washing machine water supply hose failures in unoccupied homes resulted in claims that were on average 2.5 times worse than those occurring in homes with someone at home. But for summer vacations, the safest move is to turn off your home’s main water supply. That way you’re protected against indoor flooding incidents from everything from appliance failures to plumbing problems. We even heard a story about neighborhood kids paying a sneaky visit and leaving a homeowner’s hose running for 2 weeks in the yard. Can you imagine that water bill?

2. Bring in That Spare Key

The front door mat or flower pot spot are the first places thieves will look when you’re away. A better place for a spare key for extended times away from home and even daily emergencies is a trusted neighbor or friend. When you’re gone on vacation, a potential burglar has plenty of time to hunt around for even less obvious hiding places. But then again, keys are so 20th century! Smart locks are an increasingly common part of home security systems. They are easy to install, connect to your smart phone, and allow you the security and flexibility of controlling access to your home from wherever you are. Don’t forget we provide a home insurance discount for security devices like dead bolt locks and whole house security systems.

3. Watch What and When You Share on Social Media

As tempting as it is to “check in” to vacation venues on social media, remember that you’re also broadcasting to friends of friends of friends that you’ve checked out of your home. Share vacation details and pictures after you get home from your vacation and encourage your kids to do the same. It may not be as much fun, but it’s a whole lot better for your home and the valuables you’ve left behind. 

4. Get Help from Next Door 

Strong Virginia communities are built on neighbors helping each other. This is especially true when you can enlist a set of protective eyes and ears to keep watch over your home while you’re away. Maybe this is the safe place for that spare key! Then they can also access your home if there’s an emergency while you’re away. Don’t forget to leave them with a couple of good contact numbers to reach you on vacation. 

Once you’ve covered this home protection A-list, there are tons more great ideas for preparing your home for your vacation, like unplugging your dryer and expensive electronics, and even smaller appliances, like your coffee pot. And if you do happen to have a claim this summer, no worries! Give us a call and we’ll help you through it. We also highly recommend making a home inventory of your belongings to help facilitate a strong a speedy process. Hopefully, you come home to things just as you left them and the only thing you’ll be doing is bragging about how much fun it was on Facebook!

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