West Bend Mutual Insurance Company

How To Be Safe For Spring Break

Prepare your house and car now so you can relax later.

By - Mar 5th, 2019 05:08 pm
A beach in Puerto Rico. Photo by Dave Reid.

A beach in Puerto Rico. Photo by Dave Reid.

After the recent polar vortex, it’s hard to believe spring is almost here and with it, spring break. For many of us, spring break vacations are a time to create lifetime memories while traveling with our friends and family.

Unfortunately, sometimes these good vacation memories are spoiled after coming home to a flooded, damaged or burglarized home or vehicle. While packing your suitcases and booking Airbnbs, take some extra time to prepare your house and car for your upcoming vacation. Here are steps to take before sending that “Out of Office” email.

Preparing your house:

  • Keep your house looking normal. When you leave, make sure it looks like you’re still home. Leave your blinds and curtains open. Install smart plugs to turn lights on and off on a schedule. The nice thing about smart plugs is you can vary the schedule remotely while you’re traveling.
  • Develop a plan with your neighbors. Let your neighbors know when you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye on your house. They may also be able to shovel your walk, pick up your Amazon boxes or water your plants while you’re gone.
  • Keep valuables and important documents locked. Don’t leave valuable jewelry or paperwork lying around. Store them in a fireproof lock box or safe. It may be wise to store important documents, such as wills, passports, and birth certificates, at a relative’s house.
  • Park in the garage. Cars parked in the driveway are not much safer than cars parked in the street. Car thefts can take place in less than 20 seconds. Always lock your belongings in your glovebox or trunk. It’s also wise to remove your garage door opener from the car.
  • Halt mail and newspaper delivery. Newspapers and mail falling out of your box into the street signals that nobody is home. Talk to the U.S. Postal Service about holding your mail while you’re gone.
  • Protect against frozen or burst pipes. Yes, this is spring break, but we live in Wisconsin! So, while you may be basking in the sun on a beach, the freezing temperatures will probably linger here a bit more. To protect against frozen or burst pipes while you’re on vacation, keep your heat set to no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also check to see if your pipes are well insulated and keep your garage door closed. Consider leaving all interior doors open (including cabinets) to make sure warm air is circulating through the house, and letting a few faucets drip to keep pressure low in your pipes.

Road Trip!:

  • Give your car a tune up. Before hitting the road, it’s important to make sure your car is working properly. Consider visiting your local mechanic to check your windshield wipers and refill washer fluid, check and possibly change the oil and other fluids like coolant, make sure the air pressure in your tires is correct, test your exterior lights, and check all filters, belts, and fans under the hood.
  • Pack important information. Be sure to pack important documents, such as your:
    • License and registration;
    • Car warranty information; and
    • Insurance policy. If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, contact your agent.
  • Consider purchasing roadside assistance. If you travel often and don’t want to be left stranded, roadside assistance may be a good investment. Roadside assistance programs can help with things like an empty gas tank, flat tire, lockout, dead battery, or towing.

Visit thesilverlining.com to obtain more information or to be connected with an agent.

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