Home exchanges in 5 questions

Home exchanges are becoming increasingly more popular when travelling. Does the idea of swapping homes with a stranger during your vacation appeal to you? Do you know what you need to do to ensure this type of transaction is hassle-free? Would it impact your home insurance? Here are the answers to the most common questions on the subject, brought to you by the La Capitale blog.

1. How do they work?

Home exchanges work using one of the oldest systems in the world: trade! While you stay in a stranger’s home for a stint, he or she stays in yours. There are many websites dedicated to exchanging homes from around the world.

2. Should I let my insurer know?

Yes! You should definitely notify your home insurer before the exchange to check whether you’re adequately covered. You should check your coverage for the damage incurred in your home while you’re away and the damage you may cause to your exchange partner’s home.

Topics to address with your insurer:

  • What’s covered in the event of problems in your home while you’re away.
  • The amount of coverage required for your civil liability in order to be adequately protected if you cause accidental damage while staying in your exchange partner’s home.
  • Any other coverage that could be added so that you and your home are well protected during the exchange period.

If your home exchange also includes a vehicle swap, contact your auto insurer to check what’s covered for both parties.

3. What are the main benefits of home exchanges?

  • Travel for less
  • Cultural integration by staying in a local community
  • You may enjoy the same comfort and equipment that you have at home

4. Are there any inconveniences?

Obviously, trading your home with complete strangers could have a few drawbacks. Before diving in, think about the risks you would be taking and make sure you’re ready for any consequences. After all, you don’t want to spend your vacation time worrying about what’s happening back home!B

  • Breakage, theft and vandalism
    You have to be comfortable with the idea that strangers are living in your space and using your home however they see fit. Even if you can count on their good judgement and good faith, there is still a risk of damage, accidental or not, and of theft.
  • Litigation
    If a visitor gets injured in your home and it is deemed that your negligence caused the injury, you may be held liable for that injury. Despite help from your insurer, this type of situation can become worrisome and set in motion a chain of events you’d rather avoid.
  • Disappointment
    Photos don’t always tell the real story. You may arrive at your destination and be disappointed when you find that the actual home doesn’t exactly line up with what you had pictured.
  • Last-minute cancellations
    Home exchange partners depend on one another. If something unforeseen happens to the other homeowner, you may be left hanging right before your vacation.

5. How to stack the odds in your favour to avoid headaches?

  • Get to know your exchange partners: By developing a relationship and communicating with your exchange partners, you reduce the risk of possible misunderstandings and unpleasant surprises.
  • Create a welcome guide in which you can specify, for example:
    • How the appliances work
    • Rules to comply with regarding noise
    • Directions for garbage or compost collection
    • Where to park
    • Emergency phone numbers
  • Protect your valuable property and personal information: Store your important or personal papers, computer and valuables in a locked room or with someone you trust.
  • Ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. This person should ideally be reachable by your exchange partners if needed or in case of emergencies, and should be able to get to your home quickly.

Take advantage of the partnership with La Capitale!

If you’re a DuProprio buyer or seller, ask La Capitale General Insurance for a quote. This way you’ll receive an additional 5% discount and you could save $425 by bundling your home, auto and recreational vehicle insurance.

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