Snowbirds: Safeguard your home nest

If you’re heading south this winter, look over this checklist to ensure your home is safe and warm while you’re away. 

It’s essential to maintain that ‘lived in’ look when you’re away for several days or weeks. Ask a neighbour to take care of your home during your absence. Or hire one of the home sitting services available in most major cities.

Whoever you trust to do the job, make sure they:

  • Bring in the mail
  • Leave a light on
  • Leave the radio on
  • Shovel out the entranceway following a snowfall
  • Park their car in your driveway if possible.

Check the furnace

  • Make sure that the heating system works so as to avoid damage caused by freezing.

The last tip is especially important. The Insurance Bureau of Canada advises that if you are away from your home for over 96 hours, only four days, your insurance policy obliges you to arrange for someone to check
on your heating system.

Check coverage
Before you leave, notify your insurance company, and check the extent of the coverage included in yo home and vehicle insurance policies. You may need to buy additional coverage or travel insurance if you are carrying valuable items on your trip.

Ideally, store your jewellery and other valuable objects in a safety deposit box or with friends or relatives before leaving.

Phone messages
Once you’re set up in the sun, check your telephone messages regularly. Any time you are away from your home, avoid stating how long you’re going to be away in your outgoing message.

Instead, leave a message stating you are unable to take calls for the moment, and will return calls as soon as possible.