What You Should Know About Snowbirding in Florida

We think that people in the northern half of the United States who can spend the winter months in Florida, are just about the luckiest people in the world. If you have come to the end of your rope dealing with snow shoveling and sub-freezing temperatures, snowbirding in Florida can be the perfect lifestyle. But there is lots to think about!

The snowbird season typically runs from October to April. If you are maintaining primary residency up north and only living part time in Florida, you will need to protect the equity in your northern home while you’re gone. Insurance is the first thing to consider. Standard homeowner policies often will not honor claims or provide coverage for damage to a vacant home or one that is unoccupied for several weeks at a time; usually more than 30 days. What’s needed in this situation is specialty insurance. So, it’s important to call your insurance carrier to find out what they require. Note that a vacant home has no furniture or personal property in it. An unoccupied home does, but is simply not inhabited.

Snowbirding in Florida - Outdoor Inground Pool

A major safety net for an insurance carrier is if you show that you have a Home Watch company visiting the home on a regular basis. We are located in Florida but can easily refer you to a certified, bonded, and insured Home Watch Professional in any state in the U.S.

There are other basic precautions to take. Since most damage to an unoccupied home is from water leaks and mold, consider turning off the main water connection. But, keep the heat on so the pipes don’t freeze. If you do not wish to turn off the main water valve, think about installing a home water leak detector.

Do all you can to make sure the house does not appear unoccupied, even though it is – and protect it from damage. Use motion detector lights outside —and put one or two interior lights on a timer; shut-off, drain and cover outside faucets, have someone pick up your mail or have the local post office hold it while you are snowbirding in Florida; unplug appliances, lamps, TV’s, etc as some electricity is drawn even when an appliances is turned off.

There is more to consider regarding the maintenance of the structure, your automobiles, landscaping, and utilities. And any certified Home Watch Professional can guide you.

Learn more about our Home Watch Service