Being a second-home owner in New England can prove costly due to the price of insurance and the major fixes that result from unmonitored home temperatures. Second-home owners who take heed of these 5 facts can spend that hard-earned cash made working all winter on fun in the summer sun instead of second-home repairs.
Insurance facts for second-home owners
Fact 1: Second-home insurance is actually higher than primary-home insurance because the rate of claims is higher.
Ever thought about how easily you could have prevented a disaster while one was currently unfolding right before your eyes? Running out of propane is easy to notice when you’re freezing, but running out can go unnoticed when a house is empty.
Fact 2: The most frequent home insurance claim is water damage.
Flooding can happen for a number of reasons, but in colder climates it is frequently due to frozen and burst pipes.
Fact 3: Low-temperature alarms can get you a discount on your insurance, and in some cases are required.
Low-temp alarms are a great way to identify that something has gone wrong and your house is no longer being heated. But usually, they alert you when it’s too late and there’s little you can do. They are still highly recommended, as low temps can be caused by a number of issues, but low tank level alerts are a safer method to prevent running out of fuel.
Propane facts for second-home owners
Fact 1: Because vacation homes frequently have inconsistent consumption patterns, many propane suppliers have a clause in the supply contract stating they are not responsible for you running out of propane. In fact, some contracts state that you are responsible for letting them know in advance of any changes in occupancy.
Weather and occupancy are very highly related to the amount of propane consumed in a house. If occupancy is unknown or drastically changing, it is fair to say that the Heating Degree Day (HDD) calculations used by the industry break down. However, as a solution, I would argue that tank levels for vacation homes really should be measured rather than estimated.
Fact 2: If you aren’t using your home much and therefore aren’t heating with the usual amount of propane, you could end up with extra charges from your propane company.
Check with your propane supplier to be sure, but many suppliers have minimum annual delivery amounts. If you drop below this amount, they may increase your rates or charge you a fee. While I would argue that you shouldn’t just use extra heat to meet your minimums, in some cases there are alternatives to make sure you meet your minimums such as converting other appliances like hot water heaters and stovetops to use propane.