Is my home covered while I am on holidays or away?

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What you need to know!

In the past, we discussed how you can land yourself in hot water just by using social media – today, we’ll be talking about what happens to your home if the water pipes freeze when you’ve jet-set off to those warmer destinations.

You’ve been planning a tropical holiday for months and have been looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the sun. However, did you take a moment to think about what could happen to your home while you are away? Personal disasters – including frozen pipes and thefts – are not only a hassle and heartbreak for homeowners, but losses caused by freezing may not be fully insurable if you’ve not taken the proper precautionary steps before leaving your home for more than 48 consecutive hours*:

  • arranged for a competent person to enter your dwelling each day you were away, to ensure that heating was being maintained, or
  •  shut off the water supply and had drained all the pipes and domestic water containers; or
  • if your plumbing and heating system is connected to a monitored alarm station providing 24-hour service

This means that in order for your insurance policy to protect you in the event of a personal home disaster while you are away, you will need to have someone enter your home daily to ensure the water and heating system is working properly, or drain the water supply within your home (which would include your hot water tank and toilets, and all water pipes).

If you are planning on being away from your home for an extended period of time, it could also be a good idea to place anti-freeze in your drains and toilets.  Obviously, this clause is a benefit to both you and your insurance provider: the more often your house is checked upon, the less time water will have to do damage, the less losses you (and your insurance company) suffer.

It is also important to recognize that your home may be at an extended risk for theft and vandalism. While you are away, consider having a close friend or family member maintain the “lived-in” look of your home: mow the lawn, ensure the garbage is taken out and that all snow is removed, ensure your newspapers and mail is retrieved. Make sure to unplug any non-essential electronics, which will also help to save on your electricity bill. A great option is to use timers on your lights, radio and televisions so they turn off and on at different times. Above all else, ensure that no one in your family use their social media networks to let the world know that no one is home! Introducing these simple techniques into your vacation routine will surely help to protect you and your family while away, while allowing for your holiday to be just as relaxing as you planned!

Make sure to double check your home insurance policy or ask your PAIB Insurance broker to find out more about how often your home should be inspected while away to maintain valid coverage.

*It is important to check with your individual insurance provider on these exclusions; some insurance companies may provide less time for your home to be unoccupied while still benefiting from the protection of your home insurance policy.