Are you a snowbird who flocks to Florida to your vacation home when it’s a bit too cold up north? Many people with secondary homes tend to visit their vacation homes for around 6 months out of the year.
If you’re looking to have your vacation home insured, an HO3 policy with a couple of added requirements would work just fine. Many insurance companies require a certain amount of time that you occupy the home as well as specific security measures while you’re away.
General requirements for a vacation or secondary home
Vacation homes must be occupied at least 4 months out of the year. It also needs to fall under one of the following:
- In a gated community
- In a community with limited access or a single entry
- Have 24-hour security patrol
- Have Centrally monitored burglary and fire alarm
- Be managed by a property management company with a contract
What to do when you pack up for vacation
There are a few important steps you should follow when locking up your home and leaving town for several months:
- Take important paperwork with you including health insurance and health-related documents
- Unplug all of your appliances and electronics – these are always at risk for a fire and increase your utility bill
- Forward your mail to your other address and cancel any newspaper services
- Turn off the main water valve if no one plans to be there for months
- Thermostat – when leaving a home in the winter make sure to set it to 50-60 degrees so pipes don’t freeze. When leaving your home in a warm climate, you can set it between 77-80 degrees so that the house doesn’t get too muggy when its warm out.
- Close the flue to your chimney so critters do not enter
- Lock all windows and doors
- Close drapes and shades
- Trim bushes and hedges so burglars can’t sneak around unnoticed
- Take out the trash
- Never post your plans to facebook
- Set up a time to one lamp in the house that goes on for a few hours each night
- The best advice would be to have a friend check on your house periodically