Do you intend to start spending the winter and summer in a more pleasant environment? Many retirees (and more remote employees) have a house in two places to benefit from the best of both seasons: warmer climates in the winter and cooler ones in the summer.
Snowbirds, as these people are sometimes referred to, have the luxury of enjoying their full year, but they also encounter special difficulties because they live in one house for months at a time while the other is vacant and far away. Follow these five tips to keep both residences safe and sound to help protect your house and your investment.
Review Your Insurance
Did you know that your standard homeowners insurance may not cover your home while you’re not living in it? Home insurance policies generally exclude coverage if the home has been unoccupied for more than 30 days. The reasoning is that an unoccupied home is at greater risk of vandalism, natural disasters, breakage, and theft than an occupied home.
You might need to buy more vacant home insurance or unoccupied home insurance policies to close this gap. Since they are still habitable even though no one is currently residing in them, the majority of snowbirds’ properties fall under the description of “unoccupied.” An unoccupied home insurance policy would cover a home with no utilities, no appliances, no personal possessions, or significant structural flaws.
Other insurance components, like your auto insurance and personal property limitations, could also need to be adjusted. Snowbirds should be sure that all of their possessions are covered both when they are traveling and while living in each different residence because they transport vital items at least twice a year.
Prepare The Home for the Season
During the season when each home will be vacant, it should be ready for a period of time without occupants. Prepare your Rocky Mountain house against frequent winter difficulties, namely freezing temperatures and snow, if you leave a wintry state like Colorado for warmer climates.
To prevent pipes from freezing, you might need to turn off the water supply or keep the heat on a low setting. You should also wrap any pipes that face the outside and make plans for a snow removal service to come out in case of major snowfall.
Going back to your base in the north for a more pleasant summer? Manage the humidity levels in the house, guard against storm damage while you’re away, and turn off utilities to avoid mishaps while you prepare your other home for summer.
Install A Home Security System
Snowbirds can benefit from modern home security systems in many ways. Through your mobile device, you can now keep an eye on your home security from your vacation home. Additionally, cameras on the inside and outside offer real-time images of what is happening there.
Additionally, security services offer crucial monitoring for additional mishaps and natural disasters. This can involve issues like water leaks in numerous locations across the building, broken sump pumps, smoke, or carbon monoxide. This will enable you to monitor the house during the stormy season.
Keep Your Home ‘Lived In’
The more a house looks occupied, the less of a target it is for thieves and trespassers. Smart home technology that turns on and off lights at intervals or answers doorbells remotely can help your homes both appear lived in. You should also perform regular maintenance — such as mowing the lawn during the growing season and removing snow in winter.
Some snowbirds have a friend or family member check in on the home regularly. You can also hire a house sitting service to do things like check on the house, collect mail and flyers, and let in maintenance technicians.
Use Automation When Possible
A home is less likely to be targeted by burglars and trespassers the more occupied it appears to be. Your homes will both look to be occupied if you use smart home technology that periodically turns on and off lights or remotely answers doorbells. Additionally, you should undertake routine maintenance, such as mowing the lawn in the growing season and shoveling snow in the winter.
Similarly to this, the more you use electronic delivery to replace physical mail delivery at both locations, the less vacant your property will appear. Additionally, if you have the same business performing services at both residences, you will know who to contact and maintenance will be easier. Regular maintenance agreements with service providers keep equipment and systems in good working order.
Whether you’ve already begun your snowbird lifestyle or are just beginning your preparation, visit with a seasoned insurance agent who specializes in serving homeowners with multiple properties. Hertvik Insurance Group can assist you in determining your insurance requirements and make suggestions for improving your home’s security.