Careful planning can help you to protect your secondary or vacation home and property when you are not there for extended periods of time. Here are some steps you can take to help reduce the likelihood of loss or damage:

Preventing burglary

  • Make sure locks on doors and windows are strong and secure. For greater protection, we recommend a professionally installed, monitored burglar alarm system.
  • Arrange for a neighbor or the police to check your house periodically.
  • Set interior and exterior lighting with programmable timing devices to go on and off at different times of the evening to make it appear that someone is home.
  • Store valuables in a bank vault or safe deposit box.

Avoiding water damage

  • Turn off the water heater.
  • Turn off the washing machine connection.
  • Turn off water to the toilet, leaving water in the bowl.
  • Have the air-conditioning system checked prior to your departure to be sure that water lines or drains are clear and working properly.
  • If you have an alarm system, consider monitoring your home with low temperature sensors that signal if the home temperature falls below a pre-set level.

If you have a house sitter

  • Make sure water is run through all plumbing fixtures (sinks, showers, toilets and tubs) at least once a month.
  • Request periodic checks of the ceiling, walls and plumbing fixtures for water damage spots.
  • After severe rainstorms, have your home checked immediately for possible water intrusion.
  • Provide contact numbers for local emergency personnel and your plumber, electrician and heating contractor.