Few things can spoil a holiday with family faster than getting a call from the police that your home has been broken into.
The 2020 pandemic changed a lot in our society, not the least of which it put a decidedly big cramp in our ability to socialize with friends and family.
With travel restrictions easing, you’re probably making plans to visit family.
Unfortunately, thieves make good use of the holidays to do their favorite things…stealing and destroying.
But it’s not just criminals that you need to consider…accidents such as fires, water breaks or even ice drenched limbs crashing headlong into your living room plate-glass window can really destroy your vacation!
Most of the time your homeowner’s insurance will cover damages from these events, however before leaving your home for an extended period of time, it might be useful to review what your policy covers.
Common types of insurance claims that home insurers see over the holidays include:
- ⬥ Theft
- ⬥ Injuries
- ⬥ Property damage
- ⬥ Fires
- ⬥ Credit card theft
Your personal property insurance should cover theft of property that exceeds your deductible. Personal property insurance, however, may not cover expensive items adequately.
Planning to give your spouse expensive jewelry? You might consider separate jewelry coverage to ensure that you could replace it in the event of a break-in.
Property damage and injuries
Holiday parties and celebrations make the holiday season enjoyable, but they can also turn into events that make you legally liable for injuries or property damage.
Personal liability coverage generally starts at $100,000, so it can cover many holiday mishaps. However, if you plan to mount elaborate decorations or throw holiday parties, make sure you have enough liability insurance.
One of the most common holiday calamities is a house fire, so make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers enough damage to rebuild your house at today’s prices.
Credit card theft
The typical homeowner’s policy includes around $500 in coverage to cover items purchased with a stolen credit card.
So what can you do to prevent becoming a statistic?
Social media should not be used to announce travel plans
You never know who is going to read your social media posts. An announcement of upcoming travel plans or the fact that you are currently out of town is like an invitation to a would-be thief.
Burglars sometimes use social media posts to target homes. Posting about your trip is fine. Just make sure you share it after you’ve returned to your home.
Your home should look occupied
Homes that look vacant make the top of every thief’s Christmas wish list.
Don’t let your home be at the top of their list.
Keep at least one car in the driveway and have your mail held, especially if you’ll be gone for more than a day.
Use a timer
Use timers for your lights, both those inside and out, to give the appearance that someone is home.
You can also use timers for your television and/or stereo system.
Schedule them to turn on and off at different times of the day using one of many apps on your smartphone to throw off any burglars who might suspect that nobody’s home.
Install a security system
You can prevent break-ins by installing a company- or self-monitored security and alarm system.
Burglars avoid homes with these systems to avoid getting caught and presenting physical proof of their crime.
Today’s technology lets you keep a virtual eye on your alarm and security systems and even stream live videos through your phone while you’re away.
In fact, you will probably qualify for a discount after installing a monitored security and alarm system, offset your expenses.
Put high-ticket items under lock and key
A home safe is one place to store expensive and/or sentimental jewelry or other small items, however another option is to place them in a safe deposit box at your bank.
Of course, it doesn’t take a burglar to ruin your holiday with family. Something as ordinary, yet disastrous, as a broken water pipe can wreak havoc on both your vacation and your budget!
Taking some precautions before you leave for an extended time can help to reduce or perhaps even eliminate water damage to your home.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… shut off the water coming into your home to reduce the chances of an insurance claim for water damage.
What if something still happens?
If you’ve tried to protect your home while you’re gone and something happens, remember that this is why you bought insurance.
Simply file your claim as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is processed quickly. Also, keep everything that will support your claim so that your agent has what they need to make the process go smoothly.