When the cold weather hits Canada, plenty of people decide it’s time to head down south for the winter. It’s a great opportunity to travel, avoid below-freezing temperatures, and return when the sun has come back out to play. But leaving your home for months at a time does pose a few risks as well. Luckily, investing in comprehensive home insurance coverage is a great first step in protecting your home while you’re away. However, there are a few additional steps you should take to keep your home and assets safe if you head south for the winter months:
7 Tips to Better Protect Your Home When You Travel
Before you escape the winter cold in favour of warmer weather down south, you must check a few things off your to-do list. Protect your home while you’re away with these 7 simple safety and maintenance steps:
1. Secure All Windows and Doors
In addition to checking that all the doors and windows are closed and securely locked, it can be helpful to install security bars on the inside of your window frames. This will prevent them from sliding open and help to keep would-be burglars at bay.
2. Keep Your Home Looking “Lived-In”
What are your regular habits during the week? Do you normally wake up around 6 am? Maybe you get home and turn the television on for a few hours while you cook dinner and relax? Setting timers that power on certain lights, your TV, and radio at the times you normally use them is a great way to keep your home looking “lived-in” and prevent burglars or vandals from targeting you.
3. Enlist Help from Friends and Neighbours
If you have a trusted neighbour or friends who live nearby and are willing to look in on the house for you, enlist their help. Ask them to come by a few times each month to walk around the property, go inside and inspect the rooms, and make sure there aren’t any signs of trouble. Leave them with a contact phone number, as well as any other emergency numbers that they may need while you’re away.
4. Prevent Freezing Water
It’s no secret that the winter months in Canada can be extremely cold. And all of that cold weather can cause unused drainpipes to freeze. You’ll need to be sure to drain your pipes before heading out of town and turn off your home’s water supply in order to prevent the pipes from potentially freezing or bursting.
5. Empty the Fridge
Keeping food in the refrigerator for extended periods is never a good idea. But did you know that food can also go bad in the freezer if left for too long? It can become freezer burned if left for several months at a time or if there is a power outage, any food left behind may rot. And while you’re emptying the fridge, be sure to clean out all of your garbage cans as well.
6. Forward Your Mail
There are few indicators that a home has been left alone than a pile of mail on the front doorstep. Be sure to cancel any newspaper deliveries that you may have and forward your letter-post to your new address or a nearby post office box for safekeeping.
7. Schedule Snow Removal
Depending on where you live, snow removal services may be a necessity in the winter months. If you’ll be down south for more than a couple of weeks, you’ll need to arrange for snow removal to come out and care for your property. They should be able to remove snowdrifts and de-ice your sidewalk, driveway, pathways, and front porch on a regular schedule to keep the property safe and looking well lived in.
Taking the steps to protect your home when you head south doesn’t have to be difficult when you follow these helpful home safety tips. It's important to also note that you shouldn't get caught without the right level of home insurance coverage during the winter months, so be sure to call us at 1.844.929.4768 or contact us to learn more about protecting what matters most to you.