If you’re leaving home for the holidays for an extended period of time, there are certain measures you can take to protect your property against intruders, pests, and accidents while it’s not being occupied.
This checklist addresses important reminders for each area of the home, so you can make sure it stays safe during your Christmas vacation.
Inside the Home
Clean out your fridge of food that will rot in the time you’re away, and freeze items can be frozen
Take out all trash, recycling and compost to avoid attracting critters
Make sure the dishwasher is unloaded
Unplug small appliances (toaster, coffee machine), to ensure they’re not using any energy
Ensure all basement windows are closed and locked
Prevent frozen pipes by insulating those that are located in particularly unheated areas. The same goes for pipes in the garage or attic
Wash and change bedsheets
Put any valuables in a safe deposit box, and store out of view of windows
Water potted plantsand move to cool, shady areas. Toss out any fresh flowers that will wither and die while you’re gone
Close and lock windows
Check to make sure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working
Sprinkle baking soda in toilets to avoid returning to the smell of stagnant water
Lights & Thermostat:
Turn the thermostat down to low, but don’t turn off completely which could put your pipes in danger of freezing
Set designated lights throughout the home on a timer
Outside the Home
Store all yard equipment and ladders in the garage
Front Walkway & Driveway:
Avoid an overstuffed mailbox while you’re gone. Get a neighbour to hold mail and newspapers until you’re back
Ask a neighbour to shovel the front walkway and driveway when they do theirs, or simply drive in and out after a snowfall. An occupied home and driveway looks lived in
Don’t leave garbage bins or recycling bins out the entire time you’re away. Ask a neighbour to take them out on designated days and bring back in
Ensure any surveillance cameras / exterior motion detectors are in working order. Alert your security monitoring company you will be leaving, if necessary. If you don’t have a home security system you know you can count on, now is an ideal time to consider one
Set Christmas lights on a timer so they come on at night
Lock garden gates
Store any outdoor furniture away in the garage or shed to preventing it from blowing over in wind or snow storms
If you’re leaving your vehicle behind, park it in the garage and consider covering with a lightweight car cover. This will prevent dust and debris accumulating on the surface. If you’re storing your car outdoors, a heavy duty, water-resistant car cover is necessary
If you are driving to your holiday destination, make sure it’s ready for a long winter drive. Install four snow tires and take a look at your car insurance policy to ensure you are adequately protected
Print this list and refer to it when you plan to leave your home for a long period of time. It will help reduce the likelihood of needing to make an insurance claim, and not to mention, make life easier upon return. Happy holidays, from DGI Direct!
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.