Home insurance while on vacation

11 minute read Published on Jun 17, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Three generation family leaving their home to go on holiday together.

There's nothing better than signing off from your 9 to 5, packing your bags, and heading out on a well-deserved vacation. Whether you're going on a weekend getaway or an extended holiday, being away from the chaos of everyday routines can be a restorative experience. That said, when your home is left vacant, a new set of risks come into play, which is why homeowners need to make sure they are adequately protected and that their home insurance policy remains current and comprehensive.

The terms and conditions on any type of insurance policy can be daunting. But, with the help of the experienced brokers at BrokerLink, navigating the terms and conditions of property insurance is a breeze. Our team offers solutions tailored to your unique needs, so you can feel confident and relaxed whenever you're away.

To learn more about home insurance while on vacation, keep reading.

Home insurance policies available

Protecting your home while away is crucial. However, many standard homeowner's insurance plans exclude coverage for a property if it is left unoccupied or vacant for a long period of time. To ensure full coverage during a prolonged period of vacancy, your insurer might ask you to buy a separate policy. Here are some policies you may wish to consider:

Vacant home insurance

Vacant home insurance provides coverage for a property if it remains unoccupied or empty for more than 30 or 60 consecutive days. Vacant home insurance is designed to protect against several scenarios, as vacant or unoccupied properties are thought to be more vulnerable to burglary, damage, fire, and other risks. Vacant home insurance policies may cover damage to the home's structure as well as any personal property left on the premises. It may also offer you liability coverage in the event someone is injured on the property. However, perils such as flood damage may not be covered automatically.

It is critical to thoroughly read the fine print of any vacant home insurance policy to ensure that it meets your unique requirements and provides sufficient protection.

Vacation property insurance

When it comes to seasonal vacation property insurance, you can choose between comprehensive and basic coverage based on your specific needs. Comprehensive insurance provides more expansive and comprehensive coverage, guaranteeing that your year-round vacation property, including boathouses, sheds, bunkhouses, and personal possessions, are protected from a variety of risks.

Basic vacation home coverage, on the other hand, is a more limited policy that only protects you from the risks listed in the policy.

How to protect your home while you’re away

Leaving your home unoccupied for a considerable amount of time can be stressful, especially if you are worried about the safety and security of your belongings. Burglars and other intruders frequently target unoccupied homes, so taking the necessary steps to protect your home while you’re away is critical. But, with these tips from BrokerLink, you can ensure your property is safeguarded against unexpected risks and perils:

Lock all entry points to your home

Securing your home before leaving on a trip is an essential step in ensuring that your property is safe while you're gone. To avert break-ins and thefts, verify and double check that all your windows and doors, including back doors, garage doors, basement doors, and any additional possible points of entry, are shut and locked.

Store your essential belongings safely

After you've shut and secured all possible entryways, it's critical to take the necessary precautions to protect your valuable possessions. Don't be concerned if you don't have a safe. There are other viable options for safeguarding your valuables. Consider buying a home security system that includes motion detectors and camera surveillance. You can also keep your valuables in a locked cupboard, drawer, or even in a bank safety deposit box.

Turn off your water supply

During longer trips, consider shutting off your water supply to ensure you are properly protected from possible water damage.

Have a trusted friend or family member check on your property

It's always a good idea to have someone trustworthy check on your property while you're away as an extra precaution. This could be a friend, family member, or trusted neighbour who can keep an eye on things and notify you if anything appears to be wrong. They should enter your property every 48 to 72 hours to ensure there is no damage or malfunctions that could lead to further damage in your home.

Don’t post your travels online until you’re home safe

Sharing your travel plans and vacation experiences with friends and family is always fun, but you must keep in mind what you share on social media. With an increased presence on the internet, intruders can track your activities and learn when you're not at your house. To avoid becoming a possible target, avoid posting about your trip while you're away. It is best to share your photos and stories when you return. If this doesn’t work for you, consider making your accounts private, or sending photos privately, through text or online messaging so only your friends and family can see what you’re up to.

Review your home insurance policy

Make sure that your home insurance plan includes sufficient coverage. Discuss the particulars of your policy with your insurance broker to ensure that you are sufficiently covered.

Have any packages or other deliveries delayed

Another thing to remember when going on vacation is to make sure that any deliveries, such as packages or mail, are postponed until you return. Make sure your subscriptions are paused or cancelled for the duration of your trip. Packages left unattended on your doorstep can be a tempting target for robbers, especially if they notice you are not present. Reach out to your post office and any delivery services to have your packages held until you return or make arrangements for someone you trust to pick them up for you. It is always a good idea to have someone check in on your home and or enter your home on a daily basis while you are away.

Notify your alarm company of your absence

If you have a home security system, you should notify your security company if you are going out of town. This way, they will be aware that your alarm could have been caused by an individual other than you, and they will be able to reach out to your designated emergency contact to ensure that everything is in order. Make sure to give them the name and phone number of someone who can respond quickly to an alarm activation and keep this information up to date.

Unplug any electronics

Unplugging electronics when you're not using them, can help deter fires and save you money on your utility bill. When electronic devices are plugged in, they use power even when they are not being used. You can reduce the energy you use and save money on your monthly utility costs by unplugging them. Unplugging your electronics additionally protects them from a power surge or lightning strikes, which can cause damage while you're away.

Make your home look “lived in”

Allowing a friend, family member, or neighbour to check on your property and collect your mail is one way to make your home appear lived in while you're away. An overflowing mailbox indicates that no one is at home. You can additionally give the illusion of someone being home by using smart home devices such as smart lights. Additionally, think about leaving a car parked in your driveway or asking a neighbour to do so to give the perception that someone is coming and going.

Why would my home insurance be voided when I am away?

Most home insurance policies typically specify the conditions under which protection may be nullified or restricted. If you leave your house empty for a long amount of time, your homeowner's insurance may become void or limited as a result of the increased probability of damage or loss. Insurance companies frequently have particular terms for "vacant" or "unoccupied" homes, which may differ depending on the policy.

If you have a standard home insurance plan, it might not cover a home that has been vacant for a predetermined number of days or weeks. This is because empty houses are more vulnerable to hazards, and the absence of occupants may make damage detection and response more difficult. A vacant property insurance policy, on the other hand, can provide coverage for the particular hazards associated with a home that is left unoccupied.

Do I need to inform my insurance company if I am away for an extended period?

Yes, it is necessary to inform your insurance provider if you will be gone for an extended amount of time. The majority of insurance contracts include specific provisions outlining the criteria for alerting the insurance provider of any extended absences from the property, such as 30 days or more.

Notifying your insurer is critical because your home insurance coverage may contain exclusions for vacant or unoccupied homes. Some policies may require you to take specific measures, such as having a person check on the property frequently to ensure that it is safe while you are away.

If you fail to let your insurer know of a prolonged absence or if you do not follow any policy specifications regarding vacant or unoccupied homes, your insurance coverage may be jeopardized. If damage or theft occurs while you are away and you do not comply with the terms of your policy, your policy may be voided, or your insurer may deny a claim.

How are home insurance premiums calculated?

Home insurance premiums are determined by a number of factors, including:

The home's location

The probability of natural disasters, crime rates, and other variables unique to the home's location can all have an influence on the price of insurance.

The home's age and condition

Older homes may have more significant upkeep issues and be more vulnerable to damage than newer homes.

The type of home you have

The kind of home, such as a single-family residence, apartment or a condominium, may influence what it will cost. However, this can depend on the insurance firm.

The amount of coverage

The more coverage you have for your home insurance, the higher your premium will be.

The amount of your deductible

The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be. Just keep in mind that increasing your deductible may not be a financially sound option for all homeowners as you assume more responsibility than your insurance provider in the event you file a claim.

The level of risk

Insurance companies evaluate the homeowner's risk factors, such as credit score, claims history, and lifestyle factors, which can affect the premium.

Safety features

Homes that have safety features such as smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and fire sprinklers may qualify for lower premiums.

The insurance company

Because different insurance companies calculate premiums in different ways, it's critical to compare quotes from multiple providers.

Your proximity to emergency services

When it comes to insuring your home, its proximity to a fire station or other emergency services is one of the elements that can affect your insurance premium. This is because the location of the fire station can affect how quickly firefighters show up at your home in the event of a fire or other emergency. Whereas being close to a police station can mean less vandalism or malicious acts in the event something were to occur.

If your property is close to a fire station, firefighters will likely respond faster in the event of a fire. This means that the fire can be extinguished more quickly, possibly resulting in fewer damages and lower restoration costs.

Why choose BrokerLink

At BrokerLink, we know that choosing the right insurance can be an intimidating process, especially when you have a lot on your plate. That's why we're here to help streamline your experience and guide you every step of the way. As an insurance brokerage, we work with an extensive network of trustworthy insurance carriers to provide you with the best options available. Our experienced brokers are dedicated to providing you with customized protection plans that meet your specific needs while staying within your budget.

Our approach to insurance is focused on providing dependable and effective coverage that allows you to focus on relaxing while you're on holiday. We have you covered whether you need car, home, or any other type of insurance.

Please reach out to us if you are feeling swamped by the insurance selection process. We're here to assist you in locating the security you require to safeguard your assets and enjoy peace of mind.

Contact us

At BrokerLink, we believe that insurance should be customized according to your specific needs. That is why we go above and beyond to provide personalized coverage options, whether over the phone, via email, or in person at any of our numerous offices across Canada. We understand how valuable your time is, which is why we created a user-friendly online quoting tool that provides free and competitive insurance estimates in just a few minutes.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us; we're committed to making your insurance experience as simple and painless as possible.

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Home insurance while on vacation FAQs

What home insurance discounts are available?

Home insurance can be costly. However, there are ways homeowners can save money on their premiums, including several discounts they might qualify for. Here is a closer look at some deals that may be available to you that can allow you to comprehensively protect your home while staying within your budget:

  • Multi-policy discount
  • Multi-product discount
  • Home security system discount
  • Loyalty discount
  • Higher deductible discount

Why is my home insurance changing?

How home insurance is changing can have a direct impact on how much insurance is each year. There are a couple reasons why this is happening. The first is because Canada's weather is becoming more extreme as time goes on due to global warming and climate change. This means that the likelihood of catastrophic natural events occurring, such as wildfires, heat waves, severe cold snaps, and more, has increased, which in turn increases the number of insurance claims.

Why do I need a house sitter when I am on vacation?

When you leave your home vacant for a prolonged amount of time, you increase your risk of damage or theft. Without constant surveillance, an insignificant issue, such as a leaking pipe or an unsafe electrical outlet, can quickly become a major one. Sadly, many homeowners' insurance policies exclude coverage for houses that are vacant, leaving homeowners susceptible to potentially expensive repairs.

Do I need to pay a broker if I choose to work with them for my home insurance?

No, if you choose to work with a broker for your home insurance, you are not required to pay them. Brokers are typically compensated by the insurance company with which they place your policy rather than by you. Therefore, you can have help shopping around for the best insurance plan for your needs without a fee!

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.