According to the National Home Watch Association, Home Watch is known by many names, including house watch, home concierge, caretaker, absentee home service, property watch and so on. Regardless of the name, a Home Watch service performs scheduled visual inspections of vacant properties while the owner is away. These inspections include a basic check of plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems as well as the overall condition of the home and property. Home Watch inspectors look at the house or condominium with a trained eye, doing a visual check for obvious issues, making sure that everything is satisfactory. They look for leaks, pests and mould, all of which can be present in homes left alone for even the shortest interval. Should the inspector find an issue or potential problem, they will immediately notify the homeowner. From there, the issue can be resolved by either the Home Watch service itself, or the homeowner will instruct the Home Watch service on how they want to proceed. By removing junk mail and flyers and creating a presence in the home, Home Watch adds a level of security to the vacant home. Home Watch is the line of communication to the homeowner that provides peace of mind during their absence.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, insurance coverage on dwelling and contents can cease when the premises have been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days. Your insurer will require regular inspections of your property usually ranging from every one to seven days. Most policies insist that someone inspects the vacant home every 48 to 96 hours. Others may require daily visits if you are on a prolonged absence. It is vital that you check with your broker to understand your individual insurance details as you do not want to get caught without insurance coverage due to non-compliance!
If your home is left vacant for any reason, HomeAssure will document that your property has been monitored while you are away, so that home insurers will have little grounds to deny your claim if an accident or damage occurs within the home. Make sure that you let your insurer know that you have deployed a professional Home Watch company meeting the requirements of your policy and inquire about a potential reduction of your insurance fees.
Getting a friend or neighbour to watch your home while you are away may seem like a good idea; however, remember that this is not their day job and providing detailed records is often required by your insurance provider in the event of a claim. HomeAssure is very well trained in home inspection and utilizes custom rigorous checklists, which are uploaded to a secure online storage client portal and sent to the client via email. During a litigation action against your insurance company, a judge will require proof of inspection in order for your case to be successful. A judge will NOT accept an affidavit from your friend or neighbour, without proof they were there.
An alarm system may not be accepted as adequate monitoring for your coverage! Your insurance company requires regular inspections and documentation to prove they have occurred within the requirements of your policy.