As the summer sails by, your plans may include travel to escape the heat (or soak in the sun). Sunshine, mountain vistas or ocean waves may help you relax and recharge. Before you pack your bags for summer trips you should evaluate your insurance risks and needs. These tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) can help make sure you are protected while you enjoy your summer fun.
Whether you're leaving home for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, be aware of what your homeowners or renters policy will cover. Typically, your homeowners insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you're not at home. Off-premises coverage means your belongings are insured anywhere in the world. If you're staying at a hotel and belongings are stolen, your homeowners policy will provide protection, but the exact coverage depends on your policy. In addition to your deductible, expensive items such as jewelry will typically have a replacement limit. Contact your agent to find out what's insured under your policy.
Making your home a less enticing target can discourage break-ins and may even lower your insurance premium.
- Install deadbolts on doors and/or windows. These can slow a burglar, and in some cases lead to an insurance discount.
- Invest in an alarm system or motion-activated camera. An alarm will often discourage a burglar. Some alarm systems may result in an insurance discount.
Keep your home looking "lived in."
- Put interior lights on a timer or choose a few rooms to remain lit to give the impression someone is home.
- Stop mail delivery or have a neighbor collect your mail, newspapers and packages so they don't stack up outside.
- Hire someone to cut the grass if you'll be gone long enough that growth will be noticeable.
- Leave a radio on and turn down your doorbell volume, if possible. Some thieves ring the doorbell or knock to determine if anyone is home. Having a loud radio playing and the doorbell muted plants doubt in an intruder's mind.
- Have a car parked in your driveway. Another way to make a home look lived in is to have cars coming and going from the driveway throughout the day.
Protecting your home's contents is also important. Give a spare key to a neighbor or friend to have access to the home. Avoid the cliché of putting the key under the mat, as thieves often check there. Store important documents and expensive items in a lockbox, a safe, or at another location. Don't keep valuable documents in a personal desk or office where burglars will know to look for them. Stow your computer out of sight to discourage an intruder from trying to hack into your personal accounts.
Wait to Share on Social Media
Don't announce your trip in advance except to trusted friends. Talking about an upcoming trip in public settings or posting trip photos on social media while you are away lets potential burglars know your home is empty. Wait until you are home to share the trip highlights on social media.
Contact your state insurance department for more information about your insurance needs for summer fun. You can also visit Insure U to learn more about the health, home, life and auto insurance options that best fit your needs.