Vacation is time to let go of stress and anxiety. Yet it can mean trouble if you leave your house vulnerable to break-ins. While there is no foolproof way to prevent theft, you can take these steps for safeguarding your home.
- If possible, have someone house-sit your home or check in on the house.
- Take steps to make the house look occupied, such as a light timer. If you can’t do that, consider leaving some lights on. Have the lawn mowed, snow plowed, leaves raked.
- Stop mail and newspapers, or better yet: have a friend or neighbor pick them up each day.
- If possible, forward telephone calls so they will be answered.
- Let local police, fire, close neighbors, and security company know you will be away.
- Do not leave notes or anything around the home that can alert someone to your absence.
If a burglary or other damage to your home does happen, you will have made it easier on yourself if you’ve already recorded what you have and its value. A good way to create such a catalog is to have a friend or family member videotape you as you go about the house. Stop in each room and describe its significant contents, where and when purchased, and value. This will help you communicate with your insurance company should you have to file a claim. (Keep copies of such records somewhere offsite, in case the originals would be destroyed in damage to the home.) For unusually valuable items, such as artwork or a very expensive piece of furniture, make an effort to keep actual proof, such as a statement or appraisal.
Be sure that your insurance coverage is written on a replacement-cost basis. Please keep in mind, however, that if you decide not to replace an item, your insurance company will probably take some depreciation. Also, check to see what internal limits of coverage you have on such items as jewelry and silverware. All good reasons to revisit your policy! For more information—and your peace of mind—review your homeowners coverage with your agent.
Gordon Wenner is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he majored in insurance. He is past president of Summit County Independent Insurance Agents Association, the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce and Fairlawn Country Club.
In business since 1975, Jones & Wenner is a large, diversified independent insurance agency in Fairlawn. Call 330-867-4434 with your insurance questions or visit www.jones-wenner.com.