Waterproof advice for making your home vacation-ready

If you’ve ever left for your summer vacation silently hoping your house would still be there — and in good working order — when you returned, you’re not alone.

It’s a common worry, particularly at this time of year, a new survey suggests. And there’s a good reason for it: Americans are not doing enough to ensure their residences are vacation-ready. Oh, and then there’s the hurricane that just slammed into Texas.

There are more water leaks in August than any other month, according to a new survey by the property and casualty insurance company Chubb. Yet its research reveals many homeowners aren’t prepping their homes for possible water leaks when they go out of town.

Among the findings: Only 22 percent will shut off the water main before heading out of town, and more than 80 percent haven’t installed a water leak detection system.

“Protecting your home is not labor intensive,” says Annmarie Camp, executive vice president at Chubb Personal Risk Services. “it can be as easy as installing one central system to monitor the flow of water across your home. Automatic shut-off valves can significantly reduce the amount of damage in the event of a leak.”

If you don’t have a water checklist, this is the perfect time to put one together. Floods are the number-one disaster in America, costing homeowners an average of $3 billion in claims per year, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Here are a few expert tips for keeping your home water-safe on vacation:

Clean your gutters.
“Have your gutters cleaned, because clogged gutters can lead to water intrusion on your roofline,” advises Sherry Nash, owner of Crossroads Property Services, a maintenance company in Athens, Ga. “Keep the downspouts free and clear of debris so water can flow away from your home’s foundation.”

Protect your basement from potential damage.
“Don’t store priceless items in your basement,” says Sage Singleton, a safety and home maintenance expert from SafeWise. “Assess your storage space, and store your important paperwork, photos, memories, and other meaningful items in a weatherproof container. As a rule of thumb, if it’s on the floor, it could get wet and ruined in a storm.”

Activate your security camera — and review the footage often.
“Ensure that basements, attics don’t have decay or water leaks,” says David Laubner, the vice president of marketing for Blink, a provider of security cameras. “With a security camera, it will share a clip with any movement.” Laubner says vacationers should remember to review the footage regularly, too.

Check for drips.
“Do a faucet check,” says Ryan Williams, general manager of 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric. “Check all the faucets in the home to make sure none are dripping. Drips over a week or more can add additional dollars to your water bill.”

Turn off your water the right way.
“Turn off the emergency water shut-off valve,” says Don Glovan, a spokesman for Mr. Rooter Plumbing. That’s especially true if you’re leaving before a storm. “This will help minimize damage to your home’s interior should a pipe burst inside your home.” But he says simply turning off the water isn’t enough. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on turning off the electric for your tank-type. You can do that through your main electric panel. If you have a natural gas or LP/Propane Gas tank-type water heater, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on turning off the emergency gas shut-off valve to disable the gas supply. “Some water heaters may be damaged if the water supply is turned off for an extended period of time,” he warns.

Review your flood insurance.
“It’s often a completely separate insurance policy than homeowners insurance,” says Jeramy Sibley, a coordinator with Rainbow International, a home restoration services company. Be sure your insurance is up-to-date and covers all of the items in your home. “Make sure high-dollar items in the home purchased in the last year are added to your policy. Also, consider adding guaranteed replacement cost and increases in material costs to your homeowners policy.”

Recruit a neighbor to watch your home.
Fran O’Brien, division president of Chubb North America Personal Risk Services, advises finding a neighbor to keep an eye on their home. “The time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage,” she says. A neighbor can help shorten that time — and minimize any damage.

With a few small steps, you can make sure your vacation isn’t washed out by an unexpected storm or leak. And that, in turn, may lessen some of your anxiety and let you relax. After all, it’s your vacation.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Send this to a friend