Written by guest author, Jane Moore.
The last thing you want to think about while traveling on vacation is home, but some travelers find themselves caught in tricky situations when they receive bad news about their homes while on the road. Below, we consider some of the steps you can take to prevent problems at home while you’re away, and offer some tips for dealing with those issues.
1. Be Proactive About Protecting Your Home While on the Road
One of the best ways to handle problems at home while traveling is to take proactive steps to protect your home and your belongings well in advance of your departure. Chances are, you know and follow the basic rules of home safety while preparing to travel: install motion sensors on the exterior of your home or make sure existing ones are in working order, use timers on varied schedules to turn your lights on and off, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home and collect your mail and newspaper, and have a landscaper take care of mowing your grass or shoveling your driveway and sidewalks.
But, it’s also important to protect your home by not sharing details about your travels on social media until you’re back home. When you check-in to airports or hotels, snap photos of your passport, and share photos of yourself on the beach, you are essentially announcing to would-be burglars that your home is ready and waiting for them to ransack it. Even if you use privacy settings on your posts and share with a select group of friends, you are risking others learning about your travel plans via social media. It’s better for you to unplug while traveling to reduce some of your stress.
2. Rely on a Neighbor
While you may have a security system installed in your home to give you peace of mind while at home and while traveling, you should also rely on a trustworthy neighbor when you hit the road. Should the unthinkable happen and your home is damaged by a storm or other freak accident, your neighbor can alert you immediately. You never know if a tree will fall on a portion of your home, part of your roof will be blown off by strong winds, or a flash flood will affect your home while you’re gone.
Keeping a neighbor on standby to call you should your home be damaged is imperative to your having the information you need to get immediate assistance from your insurance company and emergency personnel as needed. Give your neighbor your itinerary, the phone number of your accommodations, and the number of one other relative or contact person to call should he be unable to reach you in the event of an emergency.
3. Have Insurance Information Organized and Available
If you are traveling and a problem occurs with your home while you are away, you should have your insurance information organized and accessible. You will have a much easier time contacting your insurance agent and getting evaluations and assessments completed if you have your policy information on hand while traveling. You can organize this information in several ways. Some people opt to put their information into a Google Doc to access from anywhere while traveling. Others opt to download the mobile app from their insurance company on their smartphone so they have their information at their fingertips. No matter how you organize the information, make sure that you keep it up to date and can access it from anywhere, anytime.
Let’s face it: we can’t guarantee our homes will be protected 100% while we’re traveling. But, with a few proactive steps, a trustworthy neighbor, organized insurance information, and a plan of action for when things do go wrong, you can enjoy your time away a little more.