If you’re among the people lucky enough to spend most of the winter months in a warmer climate, you know it’s more than just a matter of packing a suitcase and heading out the door. Taking practical precautions before you leave can help protect your home against theft, damage from water or other system malfunctions, and unnecessary surprises.
Creating a winter checklist can help ensure nothing is forgotten before you leave or when you return. Allow plenty of time to prepare – frequent snowbirds recommend several weeks to ensure nothing critical is overlooked. Nodak Insurance recommends a couple of key items are on your checklist.
· Look into adding a thermostat system that is Wi-Fi enabled and can be controlled and monitored by your mobile phone. While you may set the temperature to a constant level (50-55 degrees while gone), the apps tied to the thermostat can give updates if there is a drop in temperature.
· Shutting off the main water supply is essential. Finding the main valve and closing this will avoid any major damage if a water pipe may break or freeze. Make sure you flush all toilets, clean out your ice makers, and address any other systems your home has that may have water. Even a small amount of uncontrolled water can cause damage in an unoccupied home.
· Put lighting on timers. This can be a couple of indoor lamps or outdoor lights. This will give the appearance of the home being occupied and deter anyone looking for a quick theft opportunity.
· While one of the main reasons many travel south in the winter is to avoid snow and dealing with upkeep it is a good idea to arrange for your driveway to be cleaned regularly. First, it gives the appearance the property is occupied which deters those looking to commit theft. Second, if there is an emergency, like a fire or water break, keeping snow removed will allow easier access.
· Find a person or family member to check on the home or property often. Even simply driving by to make sure nothing looks out of place can be a huge help in avoiding issues with your home.
There is another important part of the checklist many forget. Check with your Nodak Insurance agent about your coverage while your house is unoccupied. Your agent may also be able to help you protect not only your North Dakota home but your property and possessions during the winter months while you are away.