Tips for protecting your home and car while on vacation

Tips to ensure you've got the right home insurance coverage in Canada while on vacation.

Travelling soon? While enjoying the excitement of packing bags and planning itineraries, it's easy to overlook some of the finer details of your home insurance policy. Understanding how to avoid potential gaps in your coverage during your getaway is an essential part of vacation planning. Since your home is probably your biggest investment, you'll want to ensure it's still financially protected against things like theft, vandalism, and water damage while you're away. Learn more about how your next vacation could impact your home insurance coverage.

Did you know there are certain home insurance requirements when on vacation? Get the coverage you need while you're away.

It’s a good idea to contact your insurance company if you’re going away on vacation, especially if you’re planning a getaway during the winter months. If needed, a TD Insurance Advisor can help you understand any additional steps you need to take to ensure your home is  adequately insured while you're on vacation. In addition, you may want to add the following tasks from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) to your pre-travel to do list:

  • Leave a spare key with a trusted friend or neighbour.
    Have someone stop by your home daily to collect mail and flyers, to ensure that the heat inside your house is working during the cooler months, and verify that there’s no damage to your property. This person should always know how to reach you in case of an emergency.
  • Set your thermostat.
    If you're going away in the winter, consider a programmable thermostat to keep a good temperature inside your home. 
  • Do a clean sweep and take inventory of your home. 
    Take some time to tidy up, toss out garbage, water your plants, and secure/put away anything out in the open in your backyard, like bicycles, gardening equipment, and barbecues. You should also take photos or videos of your home’s contents before you head out – it’s a simple way to keep a record of your possessions should you need to make an insurance claim.
  • Have a plan for seasonal maintenance. Besides being a potential hazard, having snow build up on your property can be a tell-tale sign that no one's home. To help keep your house free from water leaks while you're away, make a plan for tackling snow removal and other seasonal maintenance tasks (like raking leaves) before you leave for your vacation.

How long can you be away from home with home insurance?

You can be away from home as long as you'd like. However, depending on your insurance, you may need to have someone check on your home while you're gone to ensure there are no interruptions to your coverage. If you're a TD Insurance customer, you can login to My Insurance to review your policy details, or speak to a TD Insurance Advisor if you have any questions. Before you leave for a trip, it's important that you understand your policy to be sure there are no gaps in your home insurance coverage while you're away.

How often should your house be checked when you are away?

Your insurer may require your home and property to be checked regularly while you're away to confirm your eligibility for specific coverage, like water damage, stays intact. That's because if something happens to your home while you're on vacation, like a burst pipe for example, the resulting damage could be significantly worse if it's discovered days - or weeks - later.  In addition, regular checks on your home can give the appearance that it's still occupied, which may reduce the risk of break-ins. Have a trusted friend or neighbour check your house daily while you're away to ensure that there are no potential issues or security concerns. Not only could this help guarantee that you're not returning to a big headache at home after a relaxing vacation, it'll also help to ensure that there are no gaps in your home policy coverage.

Are there other ways to keep my home safe on vacation?

Yes! Whether you’re planning a quick weekend at the spa or an extended European cruise, you may want to consider the following before you kick back and relax.

  • Invest in smart home monitoringConnected home security cameras can help to deter crime and alert you to hazards at home. TD Insurance customers get additional home insurance savings for a monitored burglar, fire, or water alarm system.
  • Don’t announce your vacation plans. While it's tempting to let the world know you're taking a well-deserved trip, keep in mind that sharing too much information on social media or in emails can alert potential thieves.
  • Control your lights with smart plugs or timers. Have your lights turn on/off automatically while you’re away by programming your smart plugs or timers to make it look like someone's home. Leave blinds and curtains open while carefully keeping valuables out of sight.
  • Unplug unnecessary electronics and prep smart gadgets. To avoid problems, disconnect your television, computers, sound systems, and other devices; or plug your electronics into a surge protector.
  • Not taking your car? Remove your personal documents from inside. Take any documents with personal information out of your car and store them in a safe spot in your home while you're away. Be sure to tuck the keys away somewhere out of sight - and don’t forget to put your documents back into your car upon your return.

By taking the right steps before you go, you’ll be ready to enjoy your vacation.

What if I'm taking my car with me on vacation?

If you plan on driving to your destination, consider the following to ensure your vehicle - and your insurance - can keep up with your travel plans.

  • Know your Car Insurance Policy. Read through your existing coverage to ensure that it provides everything you need to remain safely protected wherever you’re travelling. Keep in mind that if you have auto coverage from TD Insurance it's likely that you also have our Grand Touring option which provides coverage† for the rental of a replacement vehicle if you’re involved in an accident, or if your car is vandalized or stolen. You’re also covered† for loss or damage to a rental car anywhere in Canada or the US.
  • Get road ready. Visit your car mechanic and make sure the important service checks are up to date (e.g. tires, oil pressure, brakes, fluid levels). If you’re attaching a hitch or trailer to your car, check that it, and all the items inside, are secure. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to load the maps for your destination on your GPS or mapping apps in advance. The more you know, the more you’ll feel confident on the road.

Interested in adding Travel Insurance? 

We’re ready to help. We have a range of insurance options to help protect you and your family from unexpected medical costs while away and we provide 24/7 emergency assistance. For more details or to get a quote visit us here.

Conditions and restrictions may apply. Subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

The content on this page is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Coverages described herein may be subject to additional eligibility criteria, limitations and exclusions. In the event you make a claim, potential indemnification is also subject to the receivability of the claim and the type of coverage you bought.

In the case of conflict between the content on this page and your policy wordings, your policy wordings shall take precedence. Please speak to an Advisor or consult your policy wordings for further details.