We all have a big to-do list before we head out the door for our vacation. Whether you’re going for a long weekend or an extended getaway, you need to ensure that your home is secure and protected. Even if you are not home, you’re liable for anything that happens on your property. To double-check that you have the coverage you need on your home before you go away, talk with your insurance agent. Some items to keep in mind before giving your agent a call are:
Hiring a house-sitter while you’re away from home
Break-Ins or vandalism while you’re away
Bad weather coverage
Liability concerns when you’re on vacation
Home insurance while on vacation
Hiring a House-Sitter While You’re Away From Home
Sometimes you just feel better knowing that someone is really looking after your home while your away. However, keep in mind that while a house-sitter can potentially prevent break-ins or stop something terrible from happening, you (as the home owner) are still liable for this person on your property. Let’s say your house-sitter accidently causes a fire in your home, you are still liable for any damages or replacement costs. If he or she were to slip and fall on loose carpeting, you would be liable. Make sure that you discuss your liability limits on your homeowner’s policy with your agent before you have someone in your home, and ask about whether extra liability through an umbrella insurance policy would be beneficial.
Break-Ins or Vandalism While You’re Away
You want to not only ensure that your home itself is protected while you’re away, but you want peace of mind knowing that your belongings inside are protected as well. While your standard home insurance policy does provide personal contents coverage, subject to your deductible, it only provides coverage up to a specified limit. If your home was to be broken into while you were away and your valuable items were stolen, you may not have the coverage to replace them. For valuable pieces such as jewelry, fine arts, or collectibles, you may want to talk to your agent about add-on specialty policies. After receiving an appraisal, your specialty insurance policy would ensure replacement at the amount it was valued at.
If your home was vandalized while you were away, the structure and any damages would be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, but may be subject to your deductible. Many homeowners find out too late that the coverage on their policy isn’t enough. Reevaluate your coverage with your agent before leaving town to make sure that you’re completely covered while you’re away. If you have an alarm system, you may be eligible for a discount of up to 20 percent.
Bad Weather Coverage
Just like you can’t change the weather where you’re going on vacation, you can’t change what it’s doing at home either. Be sure to prepare for the possibility of storms while you’re away. Damage from rain, snow, ice, wind or hail can all cause worry for your home. For home owners in or near flood zones, even if it’s low-risk, consider a flood insurance policy to mitigate out-of-pocket costs after the fact. In the event of lost power, you’ll want to talk with your insurance agent to make sure that you have coverage for food spoilage. To protect your home from other damages such as freezing pipes or tree limbs falling on your house or vehicle due to storms, discuss coverage on both your home and auto insurance policies and ask about a multi-policy discount while you’re at it!
Liability Concerns When You’re On Vacation
As mentioned earlier, even when you’re not home you are liable for everything that happens inside your home or on your property. Home owners with swimming pools or trampolines should especially take note. If the neighbors are still coming over to enjoy your backyard amenities, discuss your liability limits with your insurance agent and talk about an umbrella insurance policy for extra protection. Even if your sidewalks or driveway are improperly cared for, or if someone falls into your pool, you could be responsible for legal expenses and medical bills. Regardless if you think anyone will be on your property, discuss this coverage and the proper limits for you and your family.
Home Insurance to Take With You on Vacation
Your home insurance policy does more than just protect your home, it also helps protect your belongings when you are away from home. If your personal possessions were to be stolen from your hotel room, lost on the airplane or taken from your rental car, there is coverage on your homeowner’s policy, subject to your deductible.
Coverage through home insurance add-on policies would also carry over onto vacations. Let’s say you lose your engagement ring on a trip with your family (or on your honeymoon), a jewelry insurance floater would ensure that you got the full value to replace your ring. Finally, your auto insurance policy will provide some protection when renting a vehicle. For exact coverage talk to your insurance agent.
A vacation should be a relaxing time. You certainly don’t want to worry about the things that could go wrong. Talk with an insurance expert about the proper coverages and limits on your homeowner’s insurance policy, as well as other policies to add into your portfolio. As always, if you have questions about your existing policy or want a quote for a new policy, give us a call at 215-677-2006.