Anyone lucky enough to have a holiday home — or a home away from home — has a place they can go to whenever they need an escape. We all know that life can get a little bit much at times, and a home away from home is a luxury some people have the pleasure of enjoying. According to Statista, 9.6 million Americans own another house where the owner owns a second home.
Unfortunately, it’s a home away from home for a reason. There are often long periods where a second home is vacant. Most second homeowners use it as a home away from home rather than renting it out – and, if that applies to you, below you’ll find some of the ways you can keep it safe and secure.
Homeowners Insurance Can Help
Although it’s not a necessity to have homeowners insurance, it sure does come in handy during a time of need. Considering over 300,000 break-ins to residential properties happened across America in 2020, it might just pay off to have a good policy. There are tons of available policies to suit a range of homeowner needs. Some insurance policies are better than others. For example, an HO-3 and HO-5 — HO is a classification of homeowners insurance — are the best policies to look into. Some states require homeowners to have a minimum of an HO-3 policy.
An HO-3 policy would cover liability, personal possessions, property damage, and even medical expenses. More often than not, holiday homes are nice condos somewhere away from the main home base. A condominium (HO-6) is another type of insurance policy that would suit condo owners. Designed specifically for them, an HO-6 policy covers things not covered by the association’s master policy.
That includes liability, personal possessions, and sometimes even living expenses if you have to move out of your condo and live somewhere else. Your condo insurance can be tailored to suit your needs. For example, you might choose to only insure possessions and liability.
Obviously, this is your second home for a reason, and if you’re spending long periods away, you might want to consider whether one of your neighbors can watch the property for you. Naturally, this has to be a trusted neighbor – one that you don’t mind giving a key to. If you’re not comfortable with that, our next suggestion should be more suitable.
Neighbors can be a great ally when you’re not there. Permanent residents can open the doors and air the property out before you come, flush the faucets through, and even stock the fridge for you before you return. Of course, neighbors with whom you have a close relationship will do so much.
The least you can ask is that someone keeps an eye out for your property and has your number in case something goes wrong if you’re not comfortable leaving the key with them.
The next level up in keeping your home away from home safe and secure is having someone live in it while you’re not there. That differs from renting, so you won’t have the responsibility or pressure of being a landlord.
House sitters spend time in your house, sometimes only in the daytime if that’s the agreement you make, and basically act as a security guard. It’s a win-win situation. They have a place that they can lodge in for the day or nights if that’s the agreement, and you have someone you know will be in the house.
Of course, you can spend time vetting someone to ensure they’re appropriate – and if you are worried about someone you don’t know is in your home, you can put security cameras around so you can keep track of what’s going on. That leads us to our final suggestion.
Top-end Security Features
It wouldn’t be right to talk about the safety and security of a home without talking about top-end security features. Most homes have an alarm installed, but only a shocking 46% of homeowners switch it on. House alarms have become sitting ducks – and more of a deterrent rather than something homeowners use.
However, if you’re leaving a second home empty, it makes sense to have a functioning house alarm and a top-end security feature like automatic motion sensor searchlights and an outdoor security camera. The combination of the three is a massive deterrent. Most home security systems work in partnership with local authorities or security companies.
If your alarm were to go off and you weren’t there, they could send someone out to check the property and report back to you.
Having a place to call a home away from home means you’ve taken the time to find the means to make a massive investment. Keeping it safe and secure should be your top priority. Be cautious of who knows about your holiday home and where you are – you never know who might be watching your social media pages waiting to learn it’s empty.