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Old 04-24-2015, 01:13 PM   #1
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Default Who's minding the store? Part II

A while back I posted about home alarms and the use of IP cameras (webcams?) As a way to monitor the status of your home while you're on the road. You used to have to hire someone to install these things, but many are now designed for the do it yourselfer. I know a few folks on here that have self installed and monitored systems.

This one is more about liability, insurance regulations, and other considerations.
I don't actually know what my homeowners policy covers, if anything, if something happened at home while we were out. I've read some news articles lately that suggest 4 days might be the max days allowed to leave your home unattended.
Anyone have have any experience or knowledge on this subject?
I'm guessing it varies by company and location.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

Yes, it does vary between companies.

My understanding is that you can go on vacation as long as you want and still have coverage subject to "heating season" provisions.

If you vacate the home (move out, not temporary vacation) all coverage ceases after 30 days on many policies.

During the "Usual heating Season" you could be without any coverage for water damage after 72 hours unless you arrange for a competent person to check the heat on a daily basis.

The workaround for having a competent person check daily would be to drain all water from pipes and appliances to eliminate any chance of burst pipes or toilets etc.

This is my understanding of my policy. Every policy will be a bit different.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

So there's a seasonal dependency? Of course. Makes sense. I always shut off the main water if we're going to be out during colder weather.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

Actually, it's a good idea to shut off the main if you are going to be gone for awhile, even in warm weather. Freezing isn't the only way that pipes burst, or leaks happen.

Also shut off your water heater if it's on it's own breaker. I once had one overpressure while I was gone and it blew water everywhere.
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

I agree, water off, water heater off, maybe drain the piping is it going to be cold out so it isn't as likely to freeze, although most houses can't get all the low spots drained. Open the sink cabinets to keep them warmer.

The water heaters are a big deal. As Wincrasher said, they can stick and spray, but if they leak, plug, or somehow else run dry, they can also start a fire. We turn off everything that is not needed when the house is sitting, including all the circuit breakers that run thinks like stove, well pump, garage doors openers, etc.

Our monitored circuity system also has freeze/high temp alarms along with the normal burglar and fire stuff, so we would know quickly if the furnace failed.

I will have to ask our insurance guy about the "abandoned house" deal and insurance coverage. He knows we leave for extended times, and has never said anything. He did make sure we got all the good discounts for the alarm features.
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

More good points. I guess there's no reason to leave that stuff enabled when you're away. I'm also going to inquire about the abandoned house issue. I used to shut off the outside water because there were stories about vandals opening valves causing considerable damage. Outside electricity, too. Power thieves running extension cords to vehicles parked in driveways or naughty neighbors helping themselves to your hydro.
My DIY alarm system doesn't have a good water or temperature sensor option but they're working on it.
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Old 04-24-2015, 05:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

I have read ways to winterize a house just as one does a RV, including draining the water heater, bypassing it, even running pink stuff through the lines.

Here in Texas, if I were going out for a long time, I'd do as above -- drain the water, close the main valve, disable outside circuits, and use a monitoring system. A friend of mine has a burglar alarm which doesn't call the monitoring station, but uses fog machines and strobe lights to blind and disorient would-be burglars. That might be useful if one is gone for a long time, since a normal burglar alarm is useless against smash/grabs, while most burglars are not sticking around if a house is billowing smoke and they can't see to get to the goodies.
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

"A friend of mine has a burglar alarm which doesn't call the monitoring station, but uses fog machines and strobe lights to blind and disorient would-be burglars. That might be useful if one is gone for a long time, since a normal burglar alarm is useless against smash/grabs, while most burglars are not sticking around if a house is billowing smoke and they can't see to get to the goodies." Just add European technopop and you've got the making of a mini Rave party
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

Or Saturday Night Fever, slight return.
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Who's minding the store? Part II

Being curious I just asked my insuance company about vacations. Here's what they had to say

Quote:
Not a problem. We do not put any requirements or restrictions on you for when you go on vacation. In the heating season however, we do require adequate heating being maintained on the home or the main water line being shut off and all pipes and appliances being drained.
BTW the provider is Square One
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