Vacations and holidays are a great way to beat the winter blues, but beyond arranging your flight, booking your hotel and packing your bags, you also shouldn’t forget to check the exclusions detailed in your home insurance coverage. If you’re planning to be away for an extended period of time, you will need to have someone check in on your home periodically to make sure everything is as it should be.
Specific requirements vary from provider to provider, but here are some commonalities that you should keep in mind as you check the details of your specific policy:
By and large, most home insurance companies don’t come right out and tell their policy-holders that they have certain responsibilities with regard to notifications prior to holidays and vacations. Instead, they place the responsibility for understanding the terms, conditions, limitations, and restrictions of the policy square on the consumer’s shoulders, which means you need to read the fine print.
Look for a warranty that contains language such as: “we do not insure damage caused by [X] or [Y]…if the policy holder has been absent from the premises for at least [Z] consecutive days.”
While some insurers continue to offer full coverage for up to 30 days after the commencement of your absence, others introduce exclusions after as little as four days. Be sure to check your policy details before you leave, as it may be too late if you wait until after your departure. If you are having difficulties, solve them quickly by calling the experienced brokers at Lane’s for some advice.
Your Policy Might be Nullified if You Fail to Notify Your Provider
Most home insurance policies also explicitly outline what you can and cannot do in order to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of your coverage. Specific to holidays and vacations, insurance companies generally require you to:
- Have a “competent” person visit or enter your property on a regular basis during your absence to make sure nothing is amiss
- Turn off your water supply and drain all faucets, fixtures, and plumbing of any water
- Ensure there is no possibility that continued utilities services creates a risk of fire or other damages
In other cases, insurance companies offer you a choice of options. You may not have to cut off your water and/or utilities, but if you elect not to, you may have to have someone come by daily. Alternately, if you do shut off your water and/or utilities, the in-person visitation requirements may be reduced or waived altogether.
Regardless, the important thing to note is this: if you don’t act in accordance with the terms and conditions specifically stated in your policy, your coverage may be nullified. That means the insurance company will have the grounds to reject any damage claims you might file as the result of incidents that took place while you were away.
Do You Have Enough Coverage?
Another often-overlooked aspect of your home insurance check-in relates to changes in the value of the contents of your home. Have you recently made a major purchase? If so, you should review and update your home inventory, report the changes to your insurance provider, and make sure your insurers has a copy of your newly amended inventory list.
If you’ve never done a home inventory, now is the time to take that step. To get started, please refer to our previously published article on the topic, which details the specifics of what kind of information you need to gather, and how to document and submit it.
Are You Carrying Travel Insurance?
Beyond checking in with your home insurance provider, you should also make sure to carry travel insurance anytime you go on a trip, even to out-of-province destinations within Canada. Unexpected holiday accidents are far more common than you may think, and they can result in major financial liabilities if you’re not protected.
Please take a moment to review recommended best practices for purchasing and carrying travel insurance. You’ll be very glad you did if something happens.
Home Insurance and Holidays: Contact Lane’s for Great Service and Low Rates
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage that offers competitive priced products from leading local carriers. If you have questions about your home insurance, or if you’re looking for a low rate on a new policy, please call Lane’s to get a quick, no-obligation quote. Customer service representatives are standing by at 403.264.8171.