A Checklist for Your Seattle Home Before Leaving for Vacation

A Checklist to Complete If You’re Leaving Your Home for an Extended Period of Time

A Checklist for Your Seattle Home Before Leaving for VacationWhether you are a snow bird who flocks to warm weather in the winter or you’re taking a vacation, you should always protect your home while you’re away. The last thing you want to hear while vacationing is that a pipe burst or your home was burglarized. Follow these simple steps to ensure your home is safe while you’re away.

Protect from Theft

  • Alert the post office to hold your mail until you return. If you are staying at your vacation home for a long period of time, perhaps forward your mail to that mailing address.
  • Stage your home as if you are still there. Use an automatic timer to turn on and off your lights. You can set them up in different rooms to make it look like you’re moving around the house. To keep it efficient, use LED bulbs in your lamps you intend to leave running throughout the night.
  • Set an alarm. There are countless great, affordable video surveillance options that sends you a text when there is motion detected at your home, both inside and out. You can then pull it up and watch a live video stream allowing you to record the activity as well as call police. Additionally, if you see a package is delivered you could ask a neighbor to pick it up off the doorstep until you return.
  • Place small valuables in a hidden place or safe. If you own jewelry, guns or cash, or have social security cards, memory cards or other valuable items, put them into a safe. Safes are typically extremely heavy and unable to be moved by one person even if not bolted to the floor.
  • Hire someone or notify your neighbor to do the simple things. For example, if you are gone for the weekend and the trash gets picked up on Fridays, ask your neighbor to pull your waste bin in for you.

Protect Your Home From Damage

  • Always turn off your water. You would hate to have a pipe burst or refrigerator leak while you’re away. If you live in a cold weather environment, drain all your pipes of water. Laundry supply lines are bigger, so be sure to turn those off at the junction box if you decide not to turn off all water.
  • Set your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat on will stop pipes from freezing in your ceiling or walls. It doesn’t take much, say 60 degrees or so.
  • Clean out your gutters. If you’re planning to be away for a while, cleaning your gutters can ensure any heavy rains won’t overflow the gutters and flood your home or damage the roof.

Going away for a while can be exciting. You shouldn’t have to worry about your home while you’re away so completing some simple tasks beforehand can ease your concern.

If you have questions about your home insurance, call the insurance agents at Secord Agency in Seattle, WA. We are right on NE 45th right in the middle of the neighborhoods of Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and the University District. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

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How Technology Can Keep Your Home Claims-Free!

We touched a couple weeks back on how simple pieces of technology can keep your home safe from burglary. Well, wouldn’t it be great if technology could help us avoid other claims like water damage, fire & freezing damage? It is!

Technology for the home has taken huge steps in the past 5 years. In fact, most everything in a home can be controlled by a mobile device and an installed home router (Wi-Fi). Implement some of these do-it-yourself items into your home to help you avoid an insurance claim:

Thermostats: Not only does a smart thermostat help you reduce your energy consumption, you can now monitor the home temperature while away on vacation. We all know someone who has experienced a frozen pipe that caused water damage. Typically this is because the thermostat wasn’t on and a cold-snap came through. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature through a Wi-Fi signal even while you’re abroad.

Smart Garage Door Openers: I think we’ve all come back home and noticed we left the garage door open all night, or even left the house only to reach your destination and think… did I leave my garage door open? Smart garage door openers work with your Wi-Fi system to notify you if the door is open or closed. You can then close it from your mobile device ensuring your items stay safe and sound.

Water sensors: Water sensors alert to you when water is standing on the floor. A great place to install a water sensor is behind a toilet, near a dishwasher and behind your refrigerator if you have a water/ice maker. Water sensors can be synched up with your existing alarm system or are available in a Wi-Fi version which at this time run around $60 each.

Smart Smoke Alarms: Smoke alarms are really the first line of defense for fires and smoke damage. Often times a fire will smolder, but the resulting smoke damage can be just as damaging. Smoke alarms, like water sensors, can be obtained by your existing home security company and tied in. Additionally, smoke alarms can be tied into your Wi-Fi alerting you if something is awry at home while you’re way.

Smart Locks: “Did you lock the front door when we left? No, I was carrying the suitcase.” Fortunately, door locks are available in a Wi-Fi enabled where you can simply lock and unlock your front door via a battery and Wi-Fi signal. Unlocked front doors are now a thing of the past.

Humidity Monitors: High humidity is another sign that you have water in your home. When humidity rises it can wreak havoc on your home. Humidity sensors come in all sorts of devices including your thermostat, furnace and even some home video monitors like the aforementioned Canary device we mentioned in our blog about home security. If the humidity is extra high, this may be a sign that water is leaking somewhere.

If technology is your thing, consider some of these options! For most people, insurance is not.

If you have questions about your car insurance, call the insurance agents at Secord Insurance Agency. We are right on NE 45th right in the middle of the neighborhoods of Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and the University District. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

Do you Know these Camping Basics?

A camping trip is one of the great adventures a person (or family) gets to have each summer. Our area is filled with great camping spots, some nestled in the woods some near streams and lakes, but most are great for meeting new friends. Preparing for this wonderful American tradition a camping trip can be challenging as you have to be ready for many different scenarios: wild animals, weather changes, illness, etc. Don’t fret, we are here to highlight some of the basics necessity one may need on a weekend camping trip.

Camping Basics in Washington:

  • Food:  Food and drink is a very important component of any trip. Most folks pack your standard camping fare like hot dogs, s’mores and plenty no-fuss ready to eat snacks. You’ll want to pack some energy bars, nuts, fruit and plenty of water if you plan on doing any physical activity as low blood sugar (and heat) can lead to dizziness and possibly fainting. Storing your food is also extremely important. Making sure all food is tightly sealed in containers will help keep pests and wild animals out of your campsite, you should also make sure that cold food stays cold to avoid food poisoning. Be sure to pack all food away in the evenings in a locked car away from any sleeping quarters as bears and other wild animals may enter camp looking for a snack.
  • Weather: Be prepared for all kinds of weather and be aware that it can change at any moment. Pack enough clothes to layer should it get chilly or rainy, hats and umbrellas for staying out of the sun and proper food gear for hiking or for swimming (including life jackets if you plan on using a canoe or raft). Being prepared for the weather also means being prepared for the pests warm weather brings. Mosquitoes and ticks can be an annoyance, but they can also cause health problems like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. Citronella candles (or torches) and repellant sprays can help protect against mosquitoes and ticks. For ticks, check yourself and your pets daily for ticks.  They prefer dark, warm areas like behind the knees, ears and inside the belly button. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some great tick prevention and removal tips.
  • Fires: Whether you are camping with a tent or in an RV or camper, you will most likely be starting a fire (in an approved fire pit) to cook food or just to enjoy. Make sure that your fire pit is well contained and the area around and above it is free of flammable material. Watch sparks and shifts in the fire to ensure that the flames stay within the pit. Having a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher hand is a very good idea. If a forest or brush fire should start, you’ll want to contact the authorities (in many cases a camping host) immediately. It is not just camp fires that can cause a forest or brush fire. Sparks from motorcycle, ATV or RV tail pipes can also cause a spontaneous fire. If you are bringing any of these “toys” along take to your insurance agent about a personal umbrella insurance policy, which could help mitigate damage and restitution costs if you were found liable or negligent for a brush or forest fire.
  • Cleanliness: Not just personal hygiene, but keeping your campsite clear of trip hazards, such as unused toys, firewood, ropes or other items that could cause a trip. Remember that you’re usually leasing a space of land to camp on, but this won’t stop others from walking through your site. Be sure they have a safe place to travel through and that you can’t be found liable for someone injuring themselves while being in or around your RV (should you be using an RV). You can protect yourself with vacation liability insurance coverage that is available with specialized RV policies such as those offered by Progressive Insurance.

At Secord Agency we want you to enjoy your summer camping trips. While we can assist you with building fires and setting up a campsite, we can help ensure that all your RVsATVs and motorcycles are insured with the right policy to fit your needs and budget. Give your Seattle, WA Secord agent a call and see the difference of working with an independent agent. You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 for more information about the other insurance products we sell, like home insurance or auto insurance.