Leaving Your Home Vacant for 3 Days Requires Extra Attention

Last Updated:
December 27, 2018
Karen Spencer
Time to Read:

If you're away from your property for more than 72 hours, your insurance policy likely requires a few things before you leave.

Many policies include a line that states if you are away from your dwelling for more than three consecutive days, they won't insure loss or damage caused by freezing, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, etc.

However, if you make arrangements, your insurance company will still insure the damages. Some arrangements include:

  • Arrange for a competent person to enter your dwelling and make sure heating is maintained each day you're away,
  • Shut off the water supply and drain all the pipes, or
  • Have your heating system monitored by a 24-hour alarm service.

Most policies only require you to fulfill one of these arrangements. The third option is likely the most expensive and the least popular. If you can have someone check on your home every day while you are away, option one is the most beneficial.

We recommend you arrange for someone to check on your home every two to three days AND shut off the water supply and drain the pipes.

This part of the policy is to protect insurance companies from policyholders leaving property unattended for long periods of time. The longer flowing water is left unattended, the greater the damage.

A promptly dealt situation is beneficial for everyone involved.

If you're planning to get away this winter, here’s a checklist to help protect your home from possible damage or liability exposures.

  • Forward your mail and stop newspaper delivery
  • Have someone regularly check on your home
  • Arrange to have your driveway and walkway cleared of snow
  • Turn on your alarm systems and set interior lights on timers
  • Secure your valuables in fire- and water-proof safes or in another secure location
  • Be sure to have deadbolts installed on exterior doors
  • Turn off the main water supply and drain the pipes, then shut off valves to dishwashers, clothes washer, etc. Flush all your toilets
  • Set the temperature to a minimum of 13C
  • Perform routine maintenance on heating systems, the roof, chimneys, and gutters
  • Test your smoke and CO detectors
  • Remove dead trees and overhanging limbs
  • Unplug all appliances and phones
  • Remove all waste to discourage pests and clean your home thoroughly (it’s always nice to come home to a clean home after vacation)
  • Arrange to have someone available to access your home in case of an emergency

If you are unsure of what requirements your property insurance obliges, please contact us.