When preparing to take a vacation, the average homeowner should understand the importance of spending a bit of time of securing their home before leaving. Tasks such as canceling your mail delivery, having someone cut your lawn or shovel your snow, closing the blinds, and setting your security system are all important ways to reduce the risk of a break-in while you're away. It's also important, though, to think of the tasks that will reduce your risk of having to file a home insurance claim upon arriving back home. You don't want to return home to a major issue, so take the time in advance to perform these tasks.
Turn The Water Off
Shutting off your home's water supply is an important step to take to reduce the risk of a flood. You can easily perform this task by looking at your home's hot water tank and turning off the appropriate knob – typically, it's mounted close to the floor where the water "enters" your home from the municipal supply. Shutting off the water can prevent an untimely leak that you'd otherwise catch quickly if you were home. For example, if one of the water hoses that connects to your washing machine were to fail, you could quickly deal with the problem. When you're not around, this problem can lead to a major flood and a big insurance claim.
Unplug Your Electrical Devices
Even when turned off, there's always a risk that an electrical device can short circuit or experience another problem – possibly if there's a power surge in your home – that creates a spark that turns into a fire. You can handle this risk by systematically moving throughout your home and unplugging all of your electrical devices. Some things, such the stove, might be difficult to unplug, but you can shut off the power by flipping the appropriate breaker on your circuit panel.
Keep The Heat At A Safe Level
If you're traveling during the winter, you might be thinking about shutting off the heat to save money. While this approach will indeed lower your heating bill, the problem with this idea is that the interior temperature will plummet and risk freezing your pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and result in a large insurance claim – and paying your deductible will cost more than the price of keeping your home moderately warm while you're away. Make sure that your thermostat is set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid this problem.