March 21, 2014
So you’re a snowbird or a second-home owner preparing your home for your departure! You’ve turned off the main valve for water in the garage. You put the hot water tank on vaction setting. You’ve set the thermostat on 65. You’ve locked all the windows and doors and you even thought to unplug the garage door opener.
Lastly, you made a phone call to your neighbor letting him know that you’d be gone for the next 4 months. So you’re feeling pretty slick about your departure routine, that you will find your home just as you left it upon your return.
Well there’s probably something else you might need to look into before you leave –
Think about this for a minute….
Mr. Snowbird arrives back in St. George to his beautiful home after being gone for several weeks only to find that the home has completely flooded with water over and over again. There is mold growing up all the walls, all the furniture and everything else! Yikes! Why? Because a riser blew off one of the sprinklers in the court yard, the court yard drains were plugged due to rodents and pests, and the water had nowhere else to go but back into the home … repeatedly.
Now that sounds pretty bad doesn’t it?? But it gets worse!
After getting over the shock and notifying his insurance company, he was even more sickened to find out that his homeowners insurance wasn’t quite what he thought even though he had been making his payments regularly. He didn’t realize his insurance had changed because the home was unoccupied for over 30 days! BIG, BAD AND UGLY SURPRISE! The total cost of damage – just under $95,000!
We bring this up because one of the most important rules for owning a second home is knowing – “AM I PROPERLY INSURED WHEN MY HOME IS UNOCCUPIED FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME? Not only do I have it from my agents lips, but do I also have it in writing – does it tell me exactly what my insurance consists of for an unoccupied home.
From most of the clients that we have – many have no understanding that their insurance coverage often changes when the home is left unoccupied. This is not always the case, but the point is – you need to know in YOUR case. Does your insurance company know that you are gone for a certain period of time every year and do your premiums reflect that?
Why does the insurance change? Because you’re not there! Any problem that might occur in your absence is not discovered for weeks or months even. That means the cost to repair the damage is substantially higher.
So food for thought: Contact your insurance agent and notify him that your home will be left unoccupied for a period of time but that you have hired PAINTED DESERT HOME WATCH – a licensed, bonded and insured home watch service that makes weekly visits checking on every home system. Wow!! Now that’s a great departure plan!!