Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is your home alone?

Your bags are packed, the car is loaded and your tickets are in hand. You're finally ready for that relaxing summer getaway you've been anticipating all year…or so you think.

In the last minute hustle and bustle of planning a vacation, many Canadians leave their “home alone” and fail to plan for its proper protection. Empty houses are attractive targets for break-ins, which can be a real threat for homeowners.

“Planning ahead is essential to ensure that your return home doesn't leave you with unwelcome surprises,” says Wayne Ross, an insurance expert at Aviva Canada. “The key is to take a few simple steps to make it look like you haven't left at all.”

Consider the following tips the next time you are traveling for an extended period of time:

• Keep it to yourself. You or your kids posting holiday plans or live updates on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter may seem harmless enough, but it could alert would-be thieves to an empty house.

• Get a house sitter. Have someone stay there or have a trusted neighbour check-in daily. Give this person a key – don't hide it.

• Set timers. Set lights on timers in different rooms of your home.

• Newspaper and mail delivery. Piled up mail or newspapers are an obvious giveaway that the homeowners are out of town – cancel or temporarily divert deliveries, or have your neighbours pick them up in a timely fashion.

• Arrange for yard maintenance. Depending on the time of year, arrange to have your lawn mowed and your grass watered.

• Register on Rent your home out to trusted individuals or families while you are away on vacation. Not only will your home not be empty but you will make money while you are away. You may have to plan the vacation around the rental requests, but if you are flexible with dates this can be a great option! *Make sure to have proper house insurance to cover short term rentals/tenants.

With these tips in mind, you can concentrate on enjoying your summer escape and coming back revitalized to your home. More information is available from your insurance broker or at