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How To Prepare Your Vacation Home When You're Away

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Steps to Take If Your Vacation Home Is Damaged When You're Away

Preparing your vacation home correctly when you're away is essential to ensure its security, maintain its condition, and minimize potential issues that may arise during your absence. Here are some tips on how to prepare your vacation home when you're away:

  • Secure The Property:
    • Lock all doors, windows, and entry points to prevent unauthorized access.
    • Consider installing a security system or surveillance cameras to deter burglars and provide peace of mind.
    • Inform a trusted neighbor or friend about your absence and give them a spare key in emergencies.
  • Arrange For Regular Maintenance:
    • Schedule regular maintenance services, such as lawn care, pool cleaning, and pest control, to keep your property well-maintained and avoid any issues arising during your absence.
    • Have someone check on the property periodically to ensure everything is in order and address maintenance needs.
  • Manage Utilities:
    • Adjust the thermostat to an energy-saving setting to reduce energy consumption while maintaining a safe property temperature.
    • Consider turning off the main water supply to prevent potential leaks or water damage.
    • Unplug non-essential electronics to save energy and reduce the risk of electrical issues.
  • Secure Valuable Items:
    • Remove valuable items, such as jewelry, electronics, or important documents, from the property or store them in a secure location.
    • Consider using a safe or locking cabinets to protect valuable belongings on the property.
  • Prepare For Emergencies:
    • Ensure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are correctly functioning.
    • Leave emergency contact information, including your contact details and local emergency services, in a visible location inside the property.
    • Have a fire extinguisher readily available and ensure it is in working condition.
  • Arrange For Mail & Package Collection:
    • Temporarily forward your mail to your primary residence or have a trusted neighbor collect it to prevent a buildup of correspondence that may signal your absence.
    • If you receive packages regularly, consider arranging for package delivery to an alternate address or request that they be held until your return.
  • Notify Relevant Parties:
    • Inform your vacation rental management company or homeowner's association about your absence and provide them with emergency contact information.
    • If applicable, notify your insurance company about the property's vacancy period and any necessary coverage adjustments.
  • Winterize (If Applicable):
    • If your vacation home is in a cold climate, take steps to winterize it, such as draining water pipes, insulating exposed pipes, and setting the thermostat at an appropriate temperature to prevent freezing.
  • Document The Condition:
    • Take photos or videos of the property's condition before you leave as a reference in case any issues arise during your absence.
    • Keep a record of any valuable items left on the property, along with their descriptions and serial numbers.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your vacation home is secure, well-maintained, and ready for your return, providing you with peace of mind while you're away.

Steps to Take If Your Vacation Home Is Damaged When You're Away

Discovering that your vacation home has been damaged while you're away can be stressful and challenging. Here is what you need to do if your vacation home is damaged when you are away:

  • Assess The Situation:
    • When you first arrive at your vacation home and notice the damage, take a moment to assess the extent of the damage and prioritize any immediate safety concerns. If there are any hazards, such as structural damage or compromised utilities, ensure your safety and the safety of others before proceeding.
  • Document The Damage:
    • Take photos or videos as evidence for insurance claims and to help with the restoration process. Capture wide-angle shots and close-ups to provide a comprehensive view of the damage.
  • Contact Your Insurance Company:
    • Notify your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage. Provide them with a detailed description of the incident and the extent of the damage. Follow their instructions regarding the claims process, documentation, and required repairs or assessments.
  • Secure The Property:
    • If the damage has left your vacation home vulnerable to further damage or unauthorized access, take steps to secure the property. Board up broken windows or doors, cover damaged areas to prevent water intrusion and ensure the property is locked and secured.
  • Mitigate Further Damage:
    • If it is safe, immediately prevent further damage. For example, shut off the water supply or arrange emergency repairs if there is a water leak. If exposed areas are susceptible to weather elements, cover them temporarily to prevent additional damage.
  • Contact Restoration Professionals:
    • Depending on the type and extent of the damage, you may need to contact restoration professionals such as contractors, plumbers, electricians, or other specialists. They can assess the damage, provide recommendations, and do the necessary repairs or restoration work.
  • Keep Detailed Records:
    • Maintain a thorough record of all communication, including dates, times, and individuals involved, with your insurance company, restoration professionals, and any other relevant parties. Keep copies of invoices, estimates, receipts, and any other documentation related to the damage and repairs.
  • Inform Your Property Manager or Rental Agency (If Applicable):
    • If a property manager or rental agency manages your vacation home, inform them about the damage as soon as possible. They may have protocols to handle such situations and can assist with coordinating repairs or any necessary actions.
  • Follow Up on Insurance Claims:
    • Stay in touch with your insurance company throughout the claims process. promptly Provide them with any requested documentation and follow their instructions regarding inspections, estimates, and repairs. Keep records of all communication with the insurance company and follow up if any delays or concerns occur.
  • Plan For Future Prevention:
    • After the damage has been addressed and repairs are completed, consider taking preventive measures to minimize the risk of future damage. This may include improving security measures, implementing regular maintenance schedules, or installing safety devices such as security systems or water leak detectors.

In the unfortunate event that your vacation home is damaged while you're away, it's important to remember that each situation may be unique. Consulting with professionals and following the guidance provided by your insurance company and local authorities is crucial. By taking prompt action, documenting the damage, securing the property, and involving the necessary experts, you can begin the process of restoring your vacation home and minimizing further complications. Remember, seeking professional assistance and adhering to the advice given will help you navigate through this challenging situation and ensure the best possible outcome for your vacation home.

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