Prepare the Outside of Your Home:

  • Secure your home: Ensure all doors and windows are locked and triple-check any entry points that are not used often to make sure they’re secured.

  • Maintain the lawn: One of the most obvious signs of an unoccupied home is an overgrown lawn. Maintain the lawn before you leave and have a plan for ongoing maintenance, like a hired lawn service, if your trip is especially long. Additionally, clear gutters of debris to prevent damage if it storms or floods while you’re away.

  • Hold mail and newspaper services: Call your local post office and newspaper company to put these services on hold. The United States Postal Service also offers a hold mail service online.

  • Leave one light on: Leave a lamp on during a shorter vacation or invest in inexpensive automatic timers if you’re going on a longer vacation. This will make potential intruders think twice about whether the home is occupied.

  • Have a plan for trash pickup: If you need to bring your garbage bins to the curb before you leave, make sure a trusted neighbor can return your bins so that potential burglars don’t take notice.

Prepare the Inside of Your Home:

  • Adjust the thermostat: Set the air conditioning to around 85 degrees in the summer and around 50 degrees in the winter to conserve energy.

  • Set the alarm: If you’ve invested in a home security system, you’ll want to make sure it’s set properly. Keep a sign in your lawn or window alerting potential intruders to the security system, providing them with a good reason not to target your home.

  • Unplug appliances: Before you leave, unplug all unnecessary appliances and electronics. Doing so will reduce the risk of fire and save you on energy costs, as appliances still draw power when not in use.

  • Secure valuables: Lock valuables in a safe deposit box or hide them out of sight from windows or doors.

  • Clean out the fridge and pantry: Put food items in the freezer, toss them in the garbage, or give them away if they’ll spoil during the time you are traveling to avoid unwanted smells and pests.

  • Turn off the main water supply: As you’re leaving, turn off the water supply so you decrease the likelihood of a leak while you’re away. Water leaks, especially ones that go unnoticed for a longer period of time, can create major damage to your home.

Notify Others of Your Plans:

  • Call your credit card company and your home security company to let them know you’ll be out of town.

  • Leave your emergency contact information and travel plans with a trusted friend or neighbor who can contact you if something happens to your home.

By following these steps, you can give yourself an advantage over potential mishaps and those who may have malicious intent. If something does happen to your home while you’re away, your failsafe should always good homeowners insurance coverage. Reach out to a Goosehead agent today to review your coverage or go to our Digital Agent to compare rates.

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. You should not act or refrain from acting based on this information without first consulting a Goosehead licensed agent. We disclaim all liability for actions taken or not taken by you based on the contents of this article which is provided "as is." Goosehead makes no representation that this content is error-free.

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