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10 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You're on Vacation


Are you planning a vacation? According to a Travel Leaders Group survey, about 70% of U.S. and Canadian respondents plan to take a vacation in 2021. Whether you’re going on a summer vacation, a holiday getaway, or a family gathering, you’ll be leaving your home unattended. Make sure it’s protected while you’re gone.

Here are 10 tips to help protect your home:

  1. Let a trusted neighbor or friend know. They can keep an eye on your place. They might even park a car in your driveway to make the house look occupied.
  2. Don’t let mail and newspapers pile up. You can have the USPS pause your mail delivery for up to 30 days while you’re on vacation. You can also contact the local newspaper or any other place where you get deliveries to pause service. Alternatively, you can have someone stop by your house regularly to pick up the mail and check on everything. If you’re hiring someone to pet sit, feed your fish, or water the plants, this option makes sense.
  3. Use a security system. Being able to check security camera footage on your smartphone may give you peace of mind while you’re on vacation, and a security system that includes professional monitoring adds an important layer of security while you’re away. Let the company know that you’ll be on vacation.
  4. Put your lights on a timer. This is another great way to make your home look occupied, and it may help deter burglars who look for empty houses.
  5. Set the thermostat. In cold weather, you’d want to set the heater to 50°F to prevent the pipes from freezing a bursting – although that’s not much of a concern in Hawaii. Assuming you aren’t leaving pets in the house, you don’t need to waste energy by blasting the AC while you’re gone. Either turn the AC off or raise the temperature setting.
  6. Turn off the water heater and water supply. You won’t need it when you are away, and this can prevent destructive leaks from occurring while you’re gone.
  7. Put your valuables somewhere safe. Don’t leave valuables out in the open, or worse, where they can be seen from the street. Closing the blinds is another way to keep prying eyes away.
  8. Do a sweep before you go. Unplug electronics, like televisions and computers, so they don’t use energy. You can also unplug appliances like hair dryers, coffee makers and toasters. Double check that the stove is turned off. Make sure the doors and windows are locked. If you’re the type who worries about these things as soon as you leave the house, you can take pictures as confirmation for yourself.
  9. Arrange for someone to take care of your lawn. This is especially important if you’re taking a long vacation. You don’t want your house to start to look abandoned.
  10. Avoid posting on social media. You want to share those amazing vacation pics but doing so alerts burglars that your home is empty. Wait until you get back to share your photos and status updates.

In addition to these 10 tips, it’s a good idea to make sure your homeowners or renters insurance is up to date and adequate. With skyrocketing building costs, many people are finding that they need to increase the limits on their homeowners insurance policies. Contact a FICOH independent agent for a complimentary review.