When people go on a holiday, usually no one is living in the house. When people sell a home and move out, there is both no people and no contents in the house.
If a house is going to be empty there are different security requirements. A client felt they didn’t need insurance for an “Empty House” and regretted it because vandals broke in through a basement window and did extensive damage.
Check with your insurance agent and explain the situation. Ask what the insurance costs and what it both does and doesn’t cover. Also ask the conditions for keeping the insurance in force. If your agent is unable to help you, ask for the name of someone that could.
Some things to discuss:
- What is covered by the insurance?
- What is not covered by the insurance?
- Does it make a difference if you have a working security system? Does it have to be a monitored system?
- Is there anything you should do to keep the insurance in effect?
- How often must the house be checked? What should the “house-checker” look for? Should they keep a written record of when the house was checked and positive or negative things they saw. i.e. everything was fine, and there was no water in the basement. May a friend or neighbour check the house or is it better to hire a professional company?
- Are requirements different for a condo?
- If you are on a holiday should valuables such as art, silver or gold coins, expensive jewelry be removed from the house?
- Does it make a difference if there is a safe to put the “treasures” in? Does the safe have to be secured so it cannot be removed?
- If the house has been sold should you have the locks changed or, at least, have any extra keys returned?
- Must the water be turned off?
- Should you have a light on a timer?
- Should the window coverings be closed or open?
- Should the heat or air conditioning be set at a specific temperature?
- Are there things they can suggest to make the home look “lived in”?
- Do you need to make arrangements to have the grass cut or snow removed?
- Should the automatic garage door be turned off?
- Should the door between the garage and the house be locked?
At times we can become busy with all the details of a move or a holiday. Be sure to be wise and also plan to protect your investment.