Note all snowbirds! Before leaving your home in Connecticut for the winter, make sure you take care of some household items. Are you unsure if you are a snowbird? These are individuals (usually retired) who enjoy the wonders of spring, summer and fall up here in New England. But as soon as the snow begins to fly and the temperature drops below freezing, they head south to places like Florida.
Although this idea appeals to many people when they retire, Florida is spectacular around December, January and February, some things that need to be addressed when it comes to Connecticut homeowners insurance because, yes, you will not "live" in your home up here in Connecticut for a few weeks (or months).
Following a few simple steps can ensure that your home in New England stays safe while enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps.  Tips for Overwintering Your Home in Connecticut While You Are Away
The fine print of most homeowners in New England usually does not cover a home loss if the home is vacant for more than two months. It is important to understand what the insurance company considers to be vacant. According to a homeowner's policy, vacancy usually refers to a literally vacant home – plot – which means that the house does not have a kitchen table, glasses, a sofa, chairs, etc.
Because you still live in that house, just not for a few months if winter, you should not fall victim to any loopholes in responsibility. But if you are unsure, call us. We will be happy to review your current homeowner's policy with you. After a thorough review of your homeowner's coverage, follow these other home wintering tips.
- Do not leave your home and look empty. Ask a friend or relative to do regular checks on your home to pick up mail or newspapers. Or contact your local USPS to park your mail. If you do not already have them, install motion detector lights outside and set your interior lights on a timer. Also ask someone to be on a snow patrol for you while you are away.
- Take time to prevent theft. Do not blow up your plans to leave the city on social media. Make sure all your doors are closed and locked properly. Double check the alarm systems and consider storing valuables outside the facility.
- Turn off the water supply to protect pipes. If a pipe bursts or leaks when you are away, it can cause significant damage. Consult your heating technician to determine if it is safe to turn off the water supply for your particular home heating system that is heated by an older steam heating system. Make sure you do not turn off the water to any fire sprinkler system. After turning off the supply, drain all the pipes and consider adding an antifreeze. If you are not sure, contact a professional plumber.
- Keep your home warm if you do not drain water sources. Set the temperature to 55 ° F or higher to help keep the interior of floor and wall cavities, where water pipes are likely to be above minus degrees. Keeping room and cabinet doors open can also help the heat circulate and heat the areas where the pipes are located.
- Complete all regular maintenance before leaving. Have your heating system inspected and serviced by an authorized professional before cold weather begins. Refill your fuel tanks before you go and make sure you have scheduled periodic fuel deliveries if needed. Have someone check your heat and fuel levels regularly while you are away. If electricity is required to keep the heating system running and the home service is on when you are away, consider having a licensed electrical contractor inspect your electrical panel, wiring and outlets. Make repairs or replace anything that may be defective.
You can read about other ways to protect your home during the winter here.
The Bottom Line
Taking a few extra precautions before heading south can help keep your New England home safe. The same goes for your house to the south when you are back here during the warmer months, so be sure you should make it. If there is ONE thing that we at Paradiso Insurance could recommend, it is this- have a warning system in place in both homes. Look for one that can not only detect burglary but also events such as flooding of the first floor or basement caused by a pump problem or something similar.