Home Insurance: Check your policy!

When we started out with the HO/Sitter arrangement, it was as home owners needing someone for our fur babies & our kids weren’t available. Our home was big, in an upscale neighborhood, on a large property.
But our focus was on keeping our Lab/Shepherd Charlie & our Parlor Panther Kieran home & happy. (They’ve since both passed on.)

What we didn’t know was that if we had kenneled them and left the house vacant?
Our Home Insurance would NOT have covered a very long list of incidents.
In fact, many policies are pretty strict: if you leave your home vacant for 72 hours? Much of your coverage is void.
Long weekend? Leaving Friday at 7 pm & getting back Monday at 5 pm? Probably OK. BUT you should call your insurance company and ask them to point out their restrictions IN WRITING what is & what isn’t included while you’re gone. I say in writing because I have had an insurance agent blithely give me erroneous information verbally.

We knew NONE of this as Home Owners needing sitters - learned it from other HO when we started sitting and were asked to sit homes with no pets!

Most commonly these things will NOT be covered if your are out of the home 3 days or more:
Fire damages
Escape of water incidents
Cost of repairing/replacing items due to mechanical/electrical fault.
Damage caused by failure to fix a known issue.
Claims involving money and high risk items

As sitters we’ve loved spending time with pets and exploring new places through THS.
But we’re glad we’ve also been on hand to prevent small issues becoming huge headaches at least half a dozen times.

Lock Up and Leave is a cute real estate term: not necessarily a great idea for your home when you go on a long trip.


My UK house insurance covers us for 31 days absence, although we have extended it to 60 days for a small charge.


Important that you know and I applaud you taking that step!
Eight years ago I had no clue that our policy required a rider for time away beyond X days.
Now it seems it should have been obvious to me.
Policies are of course hugely different depending on the home’s location.
The kind of policy you can get in a rural English town is different from London.
Or in a fire-prone area of British Columbia vs. heart of Vancouver.
In the last 2-3 years I’ve read several articles about insurance companies getting more rigid in their policies because of increased claims due to fires, floods, theft.
If there’s one contract we should all read VERY carefully, it’s insurance policies! And when they renew? There can be changes we may not notice.

I see you live in Canada, so it will be different depending on the country. As @Chrissie has pointed out, in the UK it’s normally 31 days.

We actually live 50/50 Canada & Europe.
We’ve learned talking with people in many countries that even within one country insurance coverage is quite different depending on location.
We were first told about the insurance issue by a HO with a fabulous home in central London. They told us their insurance required someone be in the home if they left it for more that 72 hours.
Another couple with a rural Grade 2 Listed home had a different set of concerns.
While many HO we’ve talked to were aware of insurance requirements, some were not.
This post is simply a suggestion that HO, wherever they may live, take the time to check with their insurance company about what their current policy allows or requires!
Also important since insurance policies are renewed annually and things can change from year to year without the HO necessarily understanding the changes.

I have now checked typical insurance policies in Sweden. It is not all-or-nothing here.

When the homeowner is deemed not to have taken proper care, the amount that is paid out for damages or theft may get reduced, for example by 25 %. That may be for example because the home had not been properly locked, or for normal absences (examples given are work, school, visiting friends). And then it says that payouts may be reduced further for longer absences, and the example given is “upprepad försummelse”, repeated negligence.

In practice in Sweden, a vacation of a month would be a normal absence, I should think.

Thanks for sharing that info with the group!