House & Contents Insurance

Vacationing away? How to protect your home while you’re gone

As the festive season beckons, you may be heading out for a well-deserved vacation. Whether it’s a road trip around New Zealand, a visit to family, or a longer adventure overseas, here’s how to keep your home safe in the meantime.

Lean on trusted neighbours

Building good relations with neighbours fosters a sense of community, and gives you allies close to home. When you’re away, they can keep an eye out for suspicious activities, remove accumulating mail that might signal an empty house, and even park in your driveway now and then, to make it seem like you’ve never left.

Set your lights on a timer

Connecting your lights (and other appliances, like radios or even televisions) can be a smart move, as it would mimic the routine of an occupied house. For example, you might set the timers to automatically turn your lights on and off at the same time each day. Or you can set up a few lights in different rooms, so it looks like there’s people moving around the house.

Hold your mail

An overflowing mailbox is one of the clear indicators of an empty home. Apart from asking neighbours or friends to help, you can request NZ post to hold your mail for up to 12 weeks. Just make sure you apply at least four working days before you’d like the hold to start. And if you’re away longer than 12 weeks, you may temporarily redirect your mail to another address.

Consider getting a security system

There’s nothing quite like going on vacation with peace of mind. These days, you can find security systems for any budget – from basic alarms and wifi cameras to more sophisticated surveillance networks, connected directly to security agencies. Most modern systems are accessible remotely via smartphones. Also, insurance providers often offer premium discounts on contents insurance for homes equipped with certified security set-ups.

Get a house sitter

Having someone physically present at your home can be a great deterrent. Plus, they may also ensure that your plants are watered and pets are cared for. So, how can you find a housesitter? Websites like and (just to name a couple) are designed to help homeowners and house sitters meet. 

Leave a vehicle in the driveway

A car in the driveway is another potential deterrent. If you have a spare car or you’re using alternative transportation for your holiday, consider leaving a vehicle parked outside. Or, ask a kind neighbour to occasionally park their car in your driveway.

Secure your outdoor space

New Zealand’s summer can sometimes bring gusty winds. So, make sure you secure or store items like garden tools, patio furniture, and toys that could take off and damage yours or other people’s property. Also, it can be a good idea to inspect trees around your house and prune any branches that might be at risk of breaking.

Ensure your lawn is maintained

Just like the overflowing mailbox, an unkempt lawn can signal absence. If you know you’ll be away for an extended period of time, consider hiring a mowing service or asking a friend or neighbour to trim the grass for you (in exchange for money or another favour!).

Watch what you share on social media

We’ve all been there – you can’t wait to share your memories with friends and family. But while it’s tempting to post real-time vacation updates, it’s often prudent to wait until you’re back, especially if your social profiles are somewhat public.

Unplug and secure

Unplugging non-essential appliances (or turning off the plugs) is good for energy conservation and safety, as it can reduce the risk of electrical fires or damage from unexpected power surges.

Consider getting house and contents insurance (or just contents if you’re renting)

Unfortunately, even with the best precautions in place, unforeseen events like natural disasters, break-ins, or accidents can still occur. House and contents insurance can act as a safety net, ensuring that if something does happen, insurance could cover the financial costs associated with a covered event. Are you renting your house? Of course, insuring the property itself is a landlord’s responsibility, but contents insurance can still be a good option.

If you already have cover, before heading out, make sure you revisit your policy to check that you’re adequately protected – and for any conditions that might apply if your house is vacant for a period of time.

Looking for house and/or contents insurance?

We can help – click here to get your house and contents insurance quotes in seconds, whether it’s for your own home or a rental property. And if you’d like to talk to us, don’t hesitate to reach out: click here to contact us today, or call us on 0800 800 400.


Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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