With more of us retiring or adopting flexible working habits, you may find yourself spending more time away from home. Adequate home insurance is a must if you plan to leave your home unoccupied for long periods. This may be particularly so during winter months if you have the chance to head for warmer climates.
The risks for your home increase if you spend more time away, so homeowners are urged to check the small print of their insurance policies to make sure they have the cover they were expecting.
Check your policy
If you plan to spend more time away, the first thing to do is check what you’re covered for on your existing home insurance cover, and check what’s on offer from new providers if your policy is up for renewal.
Many standard home insurance policies only provide year round cover as long as you’re not going to be away from your home for more than 30 days in one go (some insurance companies work on a 60 day period).
The reason for this is that an unoccupied property is more likely to get broken into or during the winter water pipes could freeze and rupture causing flooding in your home. If you’re on holiday that damage could go undetected for weeks causing major structural problems.
What if you need more cover?
So, what should you do? Contact your insurance company to notify them that you are going to be away for a longer period. They may provide cover but insist that the central heating be timed to come on periodically during the winter.
If you are likely to be staying away for frequent extended periods, consider a home insurance provider who will provide year round unrestricted cover, although this may increase your premium. Also be aware that claims will be rejected if you’re away for longer than the policy covers you for.
You may also want to check which of your belongings such as mobile phones or tablet computers are covered if you take them with you on your travels.
6 simple security tips
As wise as it is to have suitable home insurance in place, it would be best not to have to claim at all, so what can you do to reduce the likelihood of burglary whilst you’re away?
- Have a visible alarm system fitted, along with motion sensitive lighting outside the house – it doesn’t have to be expensive.
- Trick thieves into thinking your home is occupied by leaving a radio on and have lights switched on and off periodically by a switching timer.
- Avoid leaving notes for the likes of the postman advertising the fact that you’re away.
- Make sure your neighbours know that you’re away so that they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity around your property.
- Avoid quoting your home address on luggage labels.
- Generally be careful who you tell, and avoid mentioning that you’re away on social networks.
Be prepared with adequate home insurance
Whatever precautions you may have taken, the unpleasant surprises you’re most likely to find on your return home are escaped water damage, storm damage or theft.
To prepare for all eventualities, GrownUpMoney urges homeowners to check their insurance policies if they plan to be away for long periods for work, holidays abroad or for visits to family and friends.