Some sections of this site may not function unless you enable Cookies.

Unattended Home Checklist

  • Unattended Home

    What Causes Water Damage in Unattended Homes?

    Pipes, water heaters and other appliances can break and leak. In freezing weather, pipes can freeze and both plastic (PVC) and copper pipes can burst, causing major damage in a home left unattended.

    Preventing Water Damage When Leaving Your Home Unattended

    • Close and lock all doors, windows, skylights and vents to keep out wind and wind-driven rain
    • In colder climates, don't turn the thermostat off, instead leave it set to at least 55 degrees F.
    If leaving for an extended period of time, the best protection is to shut the water off and drain water lines. In addition:

    • Shut off the gas to the water heater (or the gas company can do this for you), or turn the temperature control to a vacation setting
    • If your house has a water softener, shut off its supply line
    If you choose to leave water service on, take the following precautions:

    • Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic and especially in a garage or basement next to an outside wall during the winter
    • Wrap heating tape or cables around water pipes to prevent pipes from freezing
    • Turn off the water supply to individual fixtures like your washing machine, icemaker, toilets and sinks
    • Consider installing an electronic leak detection system
    • Don't leave appliances (dishwasher, washing machine or dryer) running when you leave, and check to make sure toilets aren't running
    • Make sure the sump pump is working, especially in late winter or early spring when melting snow or heavy rain increases the risk of basement flooding
    Taking Steps to Limit Water Damage Once It Occurs

    If pipes freeze:

    • Open all faucets
    • Remove insulation and wrap pipes in rags
    • If all else fails, call your plumber
    If pipes burst:

    • Shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage
    • Take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water
    • Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions
    • Contact your local claims office to help you locate a vendor specializing in emergency water mitigation services that can properly dry out the damaged area
    Dealing with Mold

    • Get rid of the excess water or moisture
    • Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water
    • Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced
    • Contact a mold remediation specialist
    Water Losses From Appliances

    • Be on the lookout for the first signs of leakage to catch the problem early on
    • Call a plumber at the first signs of rust-colored water, backed-up toilets and sinks, and cracked or warped flooring
    • Investigate the source of musty smells and stains appearing on ceilings and walls
    • Inspect pipes for condensation and corrosion
    • Pay attention to any sudden, significant increase to your water bill, which could indicate a leak
    Water Backup

    • Remove standing water to prevent structural damage
    • Sanitize all areas and materials in contact with sewer water
    • Dry all wet carpets, rugs and personal belongings to prevent mold growth
  • In the event of a loss, contact your local Liberty Mutual claims office, or call 1-800-2CLAIMS (1-800-225-2467) and a representative will assist you.
  • Note: Homeowners policies and coverages vary by state. A Liberty Mutual representative will gladly explain the coverages provided by your policy.