As travel restrictions decrease across the country, vacation planning has fortuitously increased for many. So much so that, according to Hippo’s Homeowner Preparedness Report, 1 in every 2 homeowners say they plan to travel away from home for at least one week this summer.
Whether you’re jumping on a jet plane or road tripping with friends, leaving your home for an extended period of time can be intimidating. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council and Oxford Economics, travel spending is already surpassing pre-pandemic levels. But if you bought your first home during the pandemic and are planning a trip away this summer, you might not have thought about the measures to take to make sure your home is adequately protected.
Why is it important to take preventative measures to help protect your home?
Hindsight is 20/20. We tend to not want to imagine the worst case scenarios when it comes to our homes while we’re away, but preparing ahead can help mitigate and decrease risks. For many of us, our homes are the most important financial asset we own, and to protect it helps grow our financial equity and keep unanticipated problems away.
Completing home maintenance tasks before you travel can help prevent the possibility of larger surprises occurring while you’re away. It can also save you from the financial headache of covering the accumulated damages. Our Homeowner Preparedness Report revealed that homeowners have already paid an average of nearly $4,000 per household in unexpected home repairs in 2021. That money could be spent in more productive ways, such as hiring a gardener to handle your yard work for the remainder of the year, or saving towards that next vacation. When you’re proactive in tackling home maintenance, you can help keep unanticipated home repair costs at bay and feel a sense of confidence and control in protecting your property and possessions.
Activate preventative smart tech to protect your home
According to our Homeowner Preparedness Report, homeowners who plan to travel this summer say they plan to activate smart home devices primarily for convenience (57%) and security (56%). However, smart devices used for home protection and maintenance were rated lowest on the list of primary reasons to use a smart home device.
While some people may still think of the Smart Home as a Jetsons-like concept, there’s plenty of ways these devices can operate in the background today to help keep the home humming and alert you to potential issues while you’re away. For example, water leaks are one of the most common claims to occur in the home insurance industry and can cause unrelenting damage when a home is left unattended, costing the industry billions of dollars annually. To help avoid potential issues, place smart leak detectors in areas where water is known to pool, such as the basement or under the sink, so you can be alerted to a potential issue right away.
Tips to prepare your home before traveling
Before you travel, consider activating smart devices that help protect your property, such as Ring, SimpliSafe, or Notion. A final walk-through of your home can help tie up any loose ends that could result in damage, as well as, for security.
To ensure, you’re taking preventative measures, remember the following:
1- Home Maintenance Should be a Top Priority
This extends beyond summer travel, but proactive prevention and upkeep helps identify possible issues, which could lead to larger issues. By being able to catch issues early, you can help prevent them before they compound and become larger and more costly.
2 - Activate smart devices and test systems before you travel
One of the advantages of installing digital smart devices is that you can stay connected when you’re away. It is important to set up, activate and test before leaving to ensure all devices are working properly.
3 - Walk Through of Your Home
It is important to have a walk-through around the house to ensure that everything is in place - e.g. set your AC / heating system, turn off your water, put lights on a timer. Make note of your home’s condition and compare once you return from your trip.
Don’t Overlook Any Small Issues
After the walk-through, if you see that there are any small issues, we recommend that you address these prior to the trip. Check batteries in the critical devices that keep your home safe, such as smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.
While summer is the season to take advantage of travel, go into the season with a plan to keep your property and possessions safe. Small protective steps can go a long way in bringing you the peace of mind needed to truly enjoy your time away from home.
About the Author:
Courtney Klosterman is a Consumer Trends Expert at Hippo, the home insurance group focused on proactive protection.