It is a condition of your policy that during the heating season (winter months), leaving your home for more than 4 consecutive days (96 hours), requires you to take steps to prevent a water loss in order for your insurance company to pay a claim of this type. Specifically, you must have someone check your home every 24 hours, or have the water turned off and pipes drained, or have an alarm monitoring system that alerts you to any failure of the heating system.

What happens when a property becomes vacant or unoccupied? Inform your insurance broker immediately, as this situation will affect your coverage. It is important that your policy be amended to include a “permission for vacancy”. Under your property policy, there is an exclusion if your home becomes vacant for more than 30 days. Your insurer is not obligated to pay any claims on a property that is vacant for more than 30 days unless they have given permission. Once you have the permission, you will have most of the coverage that your policy includes but you will still not have any coverage for water escape, sewer backup, or vandalism regardless of permission. Keep in mind that your insurer will most likely limit the amount of time that they will give permission for vacancy to a maximum of 6 months. After 6 months, they will not agree to insure the property anymore and your broker will have to arrange coverage with an alternate insurer. In this case, the premium will be much higher and coverage will be greatly reduced.

Aviva Canada has provided some tips below to help prevent burglaries while you’re away on vacation.