How to protect your home when you’re on vacation
Many of us have already returned from summer vacation and, luckily, found our apartment the same way we left it. Others have not been so fortunate. While we hope that bad things cannot happen to us, other people, the weather or negligence itself have other plans. The number of renters’ insurance claims filed after people return from longer trips proves that taking a few protective measures before vacation can improve your peace of mind.
Here are the most common risks for your home while you’re on vacation and how you can take basic precautions.
Thieves like holiday seasons as much as you do, but for very different reasons. They can also have a nose for out-of-season getaways. Try to give your apartment an occupied appearance. Things such as dark windows, packages or newspapers piling up outside your apartment or even your own bragging on social media can provide burglars with clues of your absence.
Put a few devices on timers such as lamps and the TV. Pause mail delivery through the post office. Keep your travel details on a need-to-know basis. Consider installing extra security systems.
Anything small that remains unrepaired before you leave can result in a flooded mess when you return. If you know about damaged pipes or leaky faucets, report them to your property manager. If there is not time for repairs, shut off the main water valve before you leave.
The basement is often another cause for problems, especially if you live in an area prone to storms. Secure all the windows and check that your sump pump works appropriately.
The rule of thumb for preventing a potential fire at your apartment is to unplug nonessential devices and small appliances. (By doing this, you also decrease your electricity bill as these devices consume energy when not in use.) Your refrigerator is an exception unless you’ll be gone for an extended period.
Broken or Leaking Windows
Although the door is the primary way unwanted visitors enter your house, windows can be just as inviting. They can be a problem during bad weather, too. Check your windows a few days before your departure for broken seal and cracks. If you have double-hung windows, secure the crescent latches. Security experts suggest that all ground floor windows should be pinned.
If you know your window is leaking and management can’t address the issue before you leave, it can be temporarily protected. Remove damaged exterior caulking. Clean the window frame and recaulk. If you live in an area prone to storms, installing safety and security window film may make windows more shatter resistant.