When you look to hire a Home Watch company, make sure that your property and home are going to be truly protected by the insurance they are carrying. That is…if they are carrying insurance at all. Home Watch, house check, property watch, or any of the many names that Home Watchers go by, are not recognized by insurance companies or government at any levels in Canada and the U.S., because we have no SIC (Standard Industry Classification) code, which is given out by NAICS (the North American Industry Classification System). And so, with the exception of certain companies–those enrolled in the National Home Watch Association Insurance Program–most companies that are insured do not have the correct classification needed to protect your home. There are many policies floating around out there that range in classifications from house sitter and pet sitter to security and janitorial services. If you have a Home Watch company in your home that is insured but is classified incorrectly–insurance that will not cover their services–you are unprotected from any damage done by them. And if that company does not carry professional liability insurance, mistakes made and information not passed along to you which result in damages…well, good luck having any recourse. Unfortunately, unless you ask and do your due diligence, you’ll never know just how exposed you are until it’s too late. Always ask for a copy of a company’s insurance policy(ies) and bond(s), to make sure that you are covered. Question the business owner. If you aren’t sure about their coverage, consult an expert before handing over your keys. You might even ask to be named as a “certificate holder” on their policy. It costs them nothing, but your home is too important not to be properly protected. So be smart and protect your home. And please remember: a Home Watch company that pays extra to protect you, must charge a little more. But this is your house we’re talking about. Don’t pass on a company that does the right thing over a couple of bucks. www.nationalhomewatchassociation.org
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