How do I secure the safety of my valuables?
Will my insurance covers damages to my properties during the exchange?
Does my car insurance cover any damages in case of accidents?
Home exchange, like any other transaction, works like a two-way street. While someone is in your home, you are occupying theirs. You and your exchange partner have exactly the same concerns on everything – your possessions, damages, and possible accidents to your properties.
Fortunately, surveys showed that incidents on security in home exchanges are virtually absent. Local insurers and the police both agree that occupied homes are safer than those that are empty.
Some practical guidelines
The first rule is getting to know your exchange partner as thoroughly as you can. Aside from emails, phone calls and photos, you might want to chat with them in the Internet for a real-time face-to-face conversation, if possible.
You and your partner should be clear on some ground rules – locked rooms or closets, books or things that cannot be disturbed or moved, things to be carefully handled, etc. On certain cases, remove or lock away in safe places items of extreme value.
It is very good to discuss in advance issues regarding breakage or damages. Most people will agree to replace or pay for any broken item. Proper use of utilities and appliances need to be discussed in case of future accidents.
Some people also inform their trusted neighbors of their plans. The neighbors can keep an eye on their property, providing that extra level of mental comfort. They can help the exchange partner, too, if need be.