Winter is coming and, like many Quebeckers, you may be planning your next trip down South. After you’ve purchased a good travel insurance policy – an essential step for any trip outside Quebec – we suggest you take a few precautions to avoid any nasty surprises.
First of all, contacting your home insurance broker should be part of your preparations, especially if you plan to be absent during the winter.
An empty house is tempting for thieves, so it’s important to tell a neighbour that you’ll be away and give him or her the contact information for a relative or friend, in case there is a problem. Ask them to look after your pet, water your plants, pick up your mail and turn on a few lights at night. Opening and closing the curtains is also a good idea, to show that the house is occupied. Leaving a car parked in front of your house is another good way of deterring thieves. And of course it’s important to have your walk shovelled so that the house would be accessible if ever there were a fire.
On the day you leave, turn off the main water valve. Water damage may not be covered by your insurance if your home has been vacant for a certain time. It is also strongly recommended that you disconnect unnecessary electrical appliances and turn off the hot-water tank. Set the heating to a reasonable temperature, to avoid freezing pipes and all the problems that can cause.
Depending on where you’re going and how long you’re taking to get there, make sure you have the proper automobile or RV insurance. For instance, will you be using your car for more than 30 consecutive days outside Quebec? Are you planning to rent a convertible for a tour of Las Vegas? Is your rider covering loss of use sufficient in the event of a serious accident? And lastly, always make sure you have the contact information for your emergency roadside assistance service handy.
It’s important to consider every eventuality when you’re travelling hundreds or thousands of kilometres from home. You may wish to check your credit card balance before leaving and make sure you have enough cash and credit to cope with any unexpected emergencies. Traveller’s cheques are another good option, as they can easily be replaced if they are lost or stolen.
Now you can head off with complete confidence. Bon voyage!