Good ideas for when leaving your home unoccupied

For the majority of people the only time we would leave our homes unoccupied for any length of time is when we take a holiday. So whilst a fortnight away shouldn't make any difference to the standard home insurance policy - should you leave your property for much longer you may find that the cover is restricted, or you may not be covered at all.

So if you plan to spend time away from your property whether it is for working abroad, taking an extended sabbatical, exploring other continents and cultures always check the home insurance policy carefully.

You need to make your property safe and secure so don't just think about the risk of burglars but also of those unforeseen incidents like fire, flooding, storm damage etc.

Some Tips and Ideas:

  • Check your home insurance policy and advise your provider immediately. They may restrict cover or require you to take specific actions but if you do not tell them you may not be covered.

  • Ask a trusted neighbour or a member of your family to keep an eye on your property or even drop in regularly to check that the house is secure and ask them to keep a record of their visits. If you have a driveway you could ask them to park on it.

  • Make sure that your property has security lights and that they are in working order to help deter any unwanted trespassers.

  • Keep all valuables out of sight and try to move larger items like TV's away from windows. You may like to invest in a safe for those smaller valuable items such as jewellery and important documents.

  • You could also invest in some good quality timing devices so that one or two lights and maybe a radio will switch on at intervals during the morning and evening.

  • For all other electrical items ensure they are unplugged to decrease the risk of fire. If you have a freezer it might be useful to ensure that you have emptied it and defrosted it prior to your departure so that it can be turned off safely. Should you lose power whilst you are away the contents of a freezer will defrost and potentially rot or pose a health hazard should the power resume and the contents then refreeze.

  • If your absence is over the winter months you may want to set your heating to come on to provide a low temperature to help avoid the pipes from freezing. Alternatively you may prefer to drain your system completely.

  • Ensure you cancel any regular deliveries i.e. newspapers and especially milk.

  • Tidy the garden, mow the lawns and trim hedges and bushes. An untidy and unkempt garden could attract attention and can also help shield unwanted visitors from neighbours and passers-by.

  • Don't forget the shed and garage – check that the locks are secure and of a suitable nature. Again move garden tools and electrical items from windows or cover them. Ensure any ladders and garden furniture are locked away securely.

  • However excited you are about your travels try to resist announcing your departure on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Try to keep the number of people who know you are away and that your property will be empty to a minimum.

  • When you are travelling don't put your home address on your luggage tags - only use your name and mobile number

  • Before you leave double check that all doors and windows are locked securely and that the keys are out of sight. You may like to leave all the keys with a family member for safe keeping.

  • You may like to fix an external letter box so that you can seal your usual letter box to stop anything dangerous being pushed through that could cause damage to your property. You will need to ask a neighbour or family member to collect your post on a regular basis. Alternatively you could always organise with the Post Office for your post to be redirected. You may find that this is a requirement of your insurance so check with your provider.

  • If you are worried about leaving your property unoccupied then you may like to consider renting it on a short term lease or getting a friend or family member or even a house sitter to live in your home while you're away.

  • Check with your local council to see if unoccupied properties are exempt or are subject to a lower council tax premium.

Can Click4quote insurance for unoccupied homes help?

If you have contacted your current insurance provider and they plan to cancel cover of your current policy or to not offer renewal please contact Click4quote who offer a specialist insurance for vacant property.


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