Avoid Unpleasant Visitors During Summer Travel
Summer means travel and vacation for millions of Americans, whether it’s a week or two or just a relaxing day trip. However, if unprepared, homeowners may come home to an unpleasant surprise, such as burst pipes, leaky water heaters, hail damage or even a burglarized home, as criminals often look to take advantage of unoccupied homes during peak travel times in the year.
“Summer is a wonderful time of year with warmer weather, longer days and the chance to spend more time outdoors, but it’s important for homeowners to recognize that summer brings a number of unavoidable weather issues,” said Paul Quinn, head of claims customer experience with Farmers Insurance. “Our data shows that severe weather will take a toll on homeowners, who should look for ways to mitigate damage ahead of time, especially if they will be taking a vacation at any point during the summer and unable to take quick action to minimize damage before an oncoming storm.
There are a number of steps travelers can take before leaving and while away from home to reduce potentially unpleasant surprises:
Unplug anything that doesn’t need to stay plugged in (i.e., televisions and computers).
Schedule a friend or neighbor to stop by the house randomly (to avoid a pattern or anticipated time) to remove boxes from the doorstep, check the mail, get notices and fliers from the door, etc.
Consider shutting off the water for your washing machine, dishwasher and toilets if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time. This can help prevent unpleasant surprises when you get home. You can also install wireless leak sensors in flood-prone areas like your basement, laundry room or bathroom, to notify you of leaks before significant damage is done.
Keep expensive and irreplaceable items like old family photos, art work, electronics and stamp collections off the ground in case of water damage. Keep them up on shelves and water-proof containers.
If you have outdoor furniture, bring items like glass tables, chairs and umbrellas inside to avoid damage to yard items or the exterior of your home.
Avoid posting on social media while away on vacation. If the temptation to post is unavoidable, ensure that all possible security measures are in place on all social sites.
Today’s smart home technology means electronics and lights can be controlled remotely, often through an app. Schedule random timers for lights throughout the home to deter burglars and vandals.
Most hotels provide an in-room safe. Place items that will fit inside the safe. For larger items, hide them within your luggage or under clothing in the drawers. Avoid leaving items out and visible.