How to Prep Your Apartment Before a Long Trip | ApartmentSearch

Girl with yellow suitcase packing for trip and preparing her apartmentYou probably (hopefully!) aren’t braced for a flood, a fire, or a burglary at any moment. In fact, we all like to assume, “It won’t happen to me!” The sad truth, however, is that a disaster or accident can happen to anyone. While you can’t protect yourself from everything, you can certainly take measures to prevent those things from happening while you’re away.

Whether you’re gearing up for holiday travel, a summer vacation, or even a quick weekend getaway, don’t forget to prepare your apartment for your departure! Before you leave, use these helpful tips to prevent accidents, weather damage, and burglaries in your apartment.

1. Put a few lights on timers.

Burglars are more active during the holiday season because they know that many families are traveling. If your windows are constantly dark, that’s their first sign that you’re gone – and your home becomes an easy target! Trick thieves into thinking you’re home by setting a few lamps on automatic timers before you leave. That’ll give the appearance that someone is still inside (and protecting!) your apartment.

2. Arrange for someone to pick up your newspaper or packages.

Potential burglars will take note if they see packages or newspapers piling up outside your vacant apartment, so ask a neighbor to bring them inside for you. For even more safety and peace of mind, leave a key with a trusted neighbor or nearby friend who can check your apartment every few days. Not only will they deter burglars who may be watching your apartment, they’ll also make sure nothing has gone awry since you left!

3. Unplug small appliances.

Yes, we know – unplugging those appliances behind your television requires some complex acrobatic moves, and your toaster is probably fine… but better safe than sorry. It’s a good idea to unplug as many appliances or electronics that you can before you head off. Unplug everything but your refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer. This will not only prevent a potential fire, but it can also save you some money! Even when you’re not home, some appliances can still eat up electricity. Unplug, prevent a fire, and save a few bucks on your electric bill!

4. Make sure your renter’s insurance policy is up to date.

Renter’s insurance is a lifesaver if a disaster strikes while you’re away. Double check your renter’s insurance coverage and make sure your policy is up-to-date. You might be surprised what is and isn’t covered!

5. Check your faucets and exterior openings for leaks.

Have you been ignoring that leaky faucet for a couple of weeks? Ignorance is not bliss! Small leaks can turn into big problems while you’re gone, so call your apartment community’s management to get leaks properly repaired. It’s also a good idea to run your dishwasher a day or two before you plan to leave (especially if you don’t use it often) to make sure there aren’t any leaks within its pipes and systems. Check your windows and doors too, and change out old weather stripping or a worn-out window seal that could let rain into your apartment and leave you with a flooded mess when you return.

6. Clean up around your apartment.

Okay, so this might not prevent real danger… but do you really want to come back to a smelly apartment? Take a few minutes to clean up, take out the trash, dispose of old food in your refrigerator, and clean your kitchen garbage disposal if you have one. Wash any dirty dishes, and make sure there isn’t wet laundry in your washing machine when you leave.

7. Set up a security camera.

If you’re concerned about security while you’re gone, invest in and set up a security camera. There are many affordable options on the market, and some security apps even let you use an old camera phone or another device to send a live stream right to your phone. If you live in an area where holiday break-ins happen frequently, it may be worth the peace of mind to set up a camera system.

8. Do a safety check.

Old windows or locks could put you at risk for a break-in, so walk through our apartment safety checklist prior to leaving for your trip. Address any issues with your apartment community management so that your apartment is safe and sound while you’re gone.

Preparing your apartment can take a bit of time, but it can save you some headaches once you return home from your travels. And if you’re sick of traveling so much? Maybe it’s time to move closer to the activities and people you love most! If you’re ready for a change, find apartments for rent with ApartmentSearch. Our apartment locator tools can help you find just the place so you can start the year exactly where you want to be!


How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

For many people, car insurance is a major expense category in the household budget. And because it’s against the law to drive without car insurance, it’s not a budget item that can be eliminated unless you’re willing to go car-free. That doesn’t mean, though, that you’re stuck paying sky-high rates. Here’s how to get cheap car insurance. 

Learn about personal loan rates. 

How Insurance Companies Set Car Insurance Rates

Like health insurance, car insurance comes with both premiums and deductibles. The premiums are what you pay the insurance company every month to maintain your coverage. The deductible is what you’ll pay when you start making claims, up to a certain annual cap of, say, $1,000.

It’s worth noting that most people who say they want cheap car insurance mean that they want car insurance with low monthly premiums. But, as with health insurance, there’s a risk to having a policy with low premiums and a high deductible. In the event of a serious accident, you’ll have to meet that deductible. So, one way to get lower premiums is to opt for a higher deductible, but this is only a safe strategy if you have enough liquidity to cover your deductible in the event of an accident.

When car insurance companies set insurance premium rates they take several factors into account. These include applicants’ age, gender and driving history, as well as the type of car the applicant drives and the driver’s state of residence. While you can’t change your age, there are other steps you can take to get favorable rates from car insurance companies.

Types of Coverage

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

Insurance companies charge more for comprehensive car insurance than they do for basic coverage. In most states you’re required to have liability insurance to cover any damage you do to another car or driver. The extent of that coverage requirement varies by state. In most states, you’re not required to have insurance to cover damage to your own car, or injuries you might suffer in an accident.

If you choose to add insurance coverage for yourself, you can opt for comprehensive coverage or collision coverage. Collision coverage, as the name indicates, covers damage from an accident with another car or an object, and in the event that your car flips. Comprehensive coverage covers things like theft, vandalism and natural disasters, too.

So, while you’ll almost definitely need to buy liability coverage to cover other drivers’ damages, you might not need to buy physical damage coverage for your own vehicle. It will depend on the terms of your lease if you’re leasing a car, and on your own assessment of the risks you face.

If you’re buying a valuable new car, you’ll probably want comprehensive coverage. If you’re paying cash for an older, used vehicle, you can probably get away with a more basic level of coverage. Whatever insurance option you choose for yourself, be sure to comply with state laws relating to liability insurance for any damage you might do to another driver. Once you have a car insurance policy, carry proof of insurance with you in your vehicle at all times. 

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance Rates

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

In the long term, one of the best ways to get cheap car insurance is to be a safe, responsible driver. The worst drivers have high rates because the insurance company needs financial compensation for the high likelihood that it will have to pay out in the event these drivers get in an accident. If you have a spotless driving record, keep it up. If you have some accidents or tickets in your past, they shouldn’t drive your rates up forever. If it’s been a few years since your last incident, you can try calling your insurance company and asking for a lower rate, using your recent, safe driving record as a bargaining chip.

Another way to get cheap car insurance is to use the same insurance company for more than one type of insurance and get a discount for your loyalty. For example, you can contact the insurance company that provides your homeowners insurance, life insurance or motorcycle insurance and ask if the company can give you a good deal on car insurance. If you have more than one car, you can bundle the insurance coverage on both vehicles.

Your credit score will also affect your car insurance rates, just like it affects the rates you’re offered when shopping for a mortgage. If your credit has improved since you last bought car insurance, you may be able to negotiate your way to cheaper car insurance. And if you pay your car insurance premiums and bills on time and in full, you’ll build up goodwill with your insurer and might qualify for promotional rates.

If you don’t drive very much during the year, you might get cheaper car insurance from a usage-based plan than you would from regular car insurance. Track your mileage before you start shopping for car insurance and see if your low mileage makes you eligible for a better deal.

If you’re under 25, you’ll pay higher premiums, all things being equal. That’s because insurance companies judge young drivers to be riskier drivers. You can get lower rates by joining your parents’ plan, or by using your good grades to get a discount on rates, if your insurance company offers that option. Once you reach your mid-20s there’s no reason to keep paying the high rates that insurance companies levy on young drivers. You can ask your insurance company to lower your rate, or shop around for insurance from another provider.

Finally, the type of car you drive can affect your car insurance rates. Big, powerful and flashy cars are more likely to trigger high car insurance rates because the insurance company assumes you’ll be more likely to speed in that kind of vehicle, and that the vehicle will be a target for theft. Vehicles with high repair costs (such as foreign-made cars) may be more expensive to cover, too. In some states, having a used car will mean lower rates because rates are affected by your car’s replacement value. But in other states, rates are based on vehicles’ safety features, so having an older car won’t necessarily help you get cheap car insurance. If your car has special safety and/or anti-theft features, you may qualify for cheaper car insurance on that basis.

Bottom Line

If you don’t have a vehicle or you’re thinking about getting a new (or used) car, it may be worth doing some research to find out which kinds of cars will get you the lowest car insurance rates. And if you’re paying a lot for car insurance now, you may be able to get cheaper coverage by negotiating your premiums or switching providers.

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