Empty house living room interior with wood floors and a fireplace and built-in bookshelves.

How to protect a vacant house after moving

Consider these vacant property protection tips.

If your former home hasn't sold, your vacant property could fall victim to the elements, system failure, vandalism or burglary. The following measures may help lessen the risk for potentially costly issues.

Safeguard the interior

Prepare your home before you leave the property. Here are some ways you can help protect it:

  • Secure all windows, doors, fences, gates and garage entrances
  • Seal up any pet doors to help keep out pests, animals and other potential intruders
  • Program your thermostat and replace the battery
  • If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider setting your thermostat at a constant temperature (55 degrees or above) to help prevent pipes from freezing

Enhance the security

Giving the impression that the vacant home is occupied can help deter burglars. You might want to consider the following measures if you haven’t done so already:

  • Install deadbolts on all exterior doors
  • Consider installing a security system with an alarm
  • If installing a security system isn’t an option, you may want to put up a few home security signs
  • Add motion-sensor lights
  • Use timers on a few lights so they turn on and off at set times
  • Explore adding a unit that simulates a flickering TV
  • Keep bushes trimmed to help prevent potential hiding places
  • Close the curtains and blinds to help keep people from seeing in
  • Be aware of what you share online — you may want to avoid letting the public know that you have moved
  • Don’t leave spare keys around the exterior of your home

Maintain the exterior

Don't overlook the outdoor areas. If you’ve moved a good distance away, consider hiring someone to assist with the following:

  • Lawncare and landscape maintenance (mowing grass, raking leaves, shoveling snow, trimming branches, etc.)
  • Gutter cleaning to help avoid water damage

Enlist local support

Consider asking a family member, friend or neighbor to help keep an eye on your vacant property, collect any mail that may not have been forwarded, alert you to any concerns, and occasionally park in the driveway to help make your home appear occupied. You could also notify the police and the fire department that the house will be vacant.

Check your insurance

Be aware that if your home is empty for a month or more, your homeowners insurance may not cover losses that occur while it's vacant. Talk with your State Farm® agent to discuss your options.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
State Farm General Insurance Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm Florida Insurance Company
Winter Haven, FL

State Farm Lloyds
Richardson, TX

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