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Protect Your Vacant Property

Are you spending this summer at the cottage? Or do you have an out-of-province property that you won’t be able to visit due to travel restrictions? If you’re leaving any property unoccupied for longer than usual, you can take steps now to avoid unnecessary risk and costs. 

Our partners at Wawanesa Insurance have put together a checklist of best practices can help to reduce risks and losses on your unoccupied or vacant property — and ensure you’re still covered if and when you need it.

Call your broker
Provide advance notice that your home will be left vacant or unoccupied for a certain period of time.

Vacancy permit
If you’ll be away for more than 30 consecutive days, this may be required on your policy. Sign and send the paperwork back to your broker.

Regular maintenance
Have a trusted friend, neighbour or family member conduct regular and ongoing walk-throughs during the period of unoccupancy or vacancy. Consider creating a detailed checklist to help them out.

Water supply
Shut off your main water supply valve to help reduce the chances of a rupture or leak.

Take steps to ensure your home is secure and protect it against vandalism and burglary. Consider a monitored security alarm system, video surveillance system and exterior motion sensor lighting. Put interior lights on a timer so it looks like someone is home.

Part of maintaining the property and avoiding that ‘abandoned look’ is picking up the mail, especially if it’s in a front yard or door-side post box, or if packages are delivered outside the door.

Lawn care
Ensure the yard is properly maintained so the property looks like people are always around. Have a friend or family member mow the lawn in summer or shovel the walkways in winter.

Alarm maintenance
Test all fire protection and detection systems to make sure they’re in good working order.

For those colder months, make sure the home is winterized with adequate heating to prevent pipes from freezing. If the heat is turned off, ensure all systems containing water are drained.

Mice and more
Take steps to minimize exposure to vermin infestations. Have your trusted friend or family member check the property for foul odours, pest droppings, nesting materials or strange noises. Set traps if needed and call an exterminator if there’s evidence of animal activity.

Share your list
Provide this checklist to anyone looking after your property while you’re away. Keep a digital copy on your phone for easy sharing, and you’ll have one less thing to remember.

Above all else, the most important takeaway is to talk to your broker when leaving a property unoccupied for over 30 days. By reviewing your policy and requirements, our insurance professionals can walk you through any required steps and give you the reassurance that you — and your investment — are protected with proper insurance coverage.

Wawanesa Insurance

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