So, you are off to enjoy some great weather and quality time with family and friends.  A vacation is a great way to relax and have fun. But an enjoyable getaway can quickly sour if you’re interrupted with news of a problem at home.

Did you know there are a few common activities that can void some important coverage in your homeowner’s policy? One is leaving your home unoccupied, especially during the heating season.

Imagine you are away on a 3-week vacation in January. During the second week of your vacation, the temperatures back home drop, there is a power failure, your furnace shuts off and the water pipes freeze and burst.  Your home is a water-damaged mess. Upon your return home, you file an insurance claim, only to find out that your coverage has been voided because you did not follow the rules of your home insurance policy.

Every insurance company has its own specific requirements, but it is safe to say that most home insurance policies will have a clause that pertains to what is required if the home is going to be unoccupied or vacant. You don’t need to check in with your insurer every time you go on vacation or are away from your home, however, there are a few important steps to take to keep your coverage valid. Most companies will not cover water damage due to your water pipes freezing and bursting if one of the following has not been done:

  • Have a responsible person enter the home to inspect it regularly if it will be unoccupied for a certain amount of time. Some insurance companies may specify the time frame of absence (i.e. more than three days or 72 hours consecutively) and/or, they may specify how often the home must be checked; or,
  • Shut off the main water supply and drain all pipes and appliances; or,
  • Have a professionally installed water sensor/alarm that is centrally monitored at all time that is capable of providing a response.

Please take steps to protect your home. Review your insurance policy documents. Contact your insurance broker to find out what steps are required to maintain coverage under your policy.  Your broker is your partner in protecting your home. Trust Bradley’s Insurance to find the best solution for your insurance needs.

For more tips see:

https://www.brokerlink.ca/blog/vacant-and-unoccupied-properties

http://assets.ibc.ca/Documents/Media%20Centre/Top-Ten-Posters/IBC-VacayPrep-poster.pdf