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How to Keep Your Home Safe When You Are Away

Many people spend an extensive amount of time away from their homes for a variety of reasons: traveling for business or pleasure, or you split time between more than one home. Homes that are left alone for an extended period of time are potentially susceptible to more damage. However, homes that are vacant or unoccupied for extended periods may not qualify for coverage.

Before leaving home for any length of time, take these precautions to keep it safe:

  • Adjust the thermostat according to the weather and the time of year. During cold temperatures, it should be set high enough that your pipes won’t freeze.
  • Protect your pipes and plumbing. You would hate to come back to find that pipes have either burst or have been continually leaking, so the best thing to do is to have the water cut off while you are gone and have the water lines drained. You also want to be sure to shut off the gas to the water heater.
  • Protect your house from high winds if you plan to be away during a time when high winds are likely. Be sure that all tree limbs are cut back and all lightweight furniture is secured. You might also want to consider installing storm windows or hurricane shutters.
  • While you’re gone, you want to make sure your house still looks lived in to deter any thieves or vandals. You can install lights around the perimeter of your home that run on a timer, and then set the timer so that the lights go on and off periodically. Hire someone to periodically cut your grass for you. You will also want to have your mail service and newspaper delivery suspended. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to notify the local police letting them know that your house will be empty.

When you return home, be sure to cut the water back on and adjust the thermostat according to your personal comfort. You might also want to do a complete once-over of your home just to be sure everything is as it was when you left and that nothing happened while you were gone that needs to be fixed.