Warning for anyone going on holiday and you could risk losing THOUSANDS

Woman packing face masks and summer clothes into holiday suitcase in readiness of a covid outbreak. Woman preparing to travel during Covid-19 pandemic.

HOLIDAYMAKERS have been urged to make crucial checks before they leave home to avoid returning to a nasty bill shock.

From remembering your passport to buying travel insurance, the to-do-list can seem never-ending when preparing for a trip away.

Don’t forget to do these checks before leaving home

But leaving your home unoccupied comes with a range of risks that should be managed to make sure you don’t come back to a costly nightmare – on top of post-holiday blues. 

Ceri McMillan, travel insurance expert at comparison site GoCompare.com, said: “These are just a few things that you can do to ensure that you get time to kick back and relax on your holiday, and won’t be left with a financial kick in the teeth when you get home.”

Change your heating and water settings

It’s a good idea to keep your heating on and your thermostat programmed to a minimum temperature during winter and colder months to prevent frozen pipes.

But when temperatures are warmer in the summer months, turning off your heating and hot water systems can save you cash.  

You may have already turned your heating off as the weather has warmed up, but you should still turn off your water heating.

Based on the average annual gas bill for a medium-sized house, leaving this on over a two-week period could add almost £10 to gas bills, according to smart meter app Loop.

Lock up

It’s important to secure your home properly before you leave your home for an extended period.

Ceri said: “If you are burgled while you are on holiday and you haven’t secured your home properly, your home insurance could be invalidated.”

This means you will be left to pick up the bills for replacing items that have been taken, which could easily run into hundreds of pounds.

Don’t leave your home in a rush so you can take the time to make sure windows are locked, doors are double locked and alarm systems are activated before heading away.  

Ceri added that you should also secure your outbuildings and access to your garden so that garden furniture, bikes and barbeques are safe from any light-fingered visitors.

Don’t post holiday pics

It’s tempting to send your friends green with envy by posting a selfie on the beach with a cocktail in hand.

But advertising you are away from your home on social media can signal an opportunity to thieves.

Worse still, your holiday posts could even invalidate your insurance if you need to make a claim.

Ceri added: “Insurers could deem that you haven’t taken the necessary precautions to protect your home.”

Turn off appliances on standby

Check all appliances are completely switched off before heading out the door.

Gadgets left in standby mode unnecessarily drain energy adding to your bills.

You should turn off things like the TV and games consoles when they are not being used anyway.

But some appliances are easier to forget about including set-top boxes and computers, heated towel rails and extra drinks fridges.

Collectively, these make up the so-called “phantom load“. 

A phantom load of 150w currently costs £368 per year, so two weeks of not turning everything off could cost you around £14, Loop data shows.

If you have electric underfloor heating, it’s very easy to forget about, particularly if you have separate room-based systems that are not controlled centrally.

These are often thermostatically controlled and therefore less likely to come on when the weather is warm, but if it goes on for an hour per day for example overnight, then it could cost you almost £12 over a 14-day break, according to Loop.

Before you leave home and set off on holiday, walk from room to room turning off everything you won’t be using at the plug – television, microwave, any devices left on charge, heated towel rails, and smart speakers.

Steve Buckley, “energy doctor” and head of data science at Loop, said: “If you’re about to head away on a much-anticipated break, take a few minutes to do some energy housekeeping before you leave to avoid any unnecessary spending on your energy bills.

“After all, the last thing you want to be fretting about while you’re relaxing is your energy use.”

Home insurance on holiday

If you are going away for three weeks or longer you should check the details of your home insurance policy.

Standard policies often won’t cover a property if it is empty for a significant period of time – this could be as little as 21 days but varies between providers.

You should also check policy details for items away from the home.

Sometimes home insurance will cover the valuables you take on holiday if they are lost or stolen.

But not all policies have this feature and you should make sure you have travel insurance to plug the gaps.

Ceri added: “You could also consider separate gadget insurance while you are abroad, to ensure that your devices are properly protected.”