Home Watch – An Industry in a Critical Stage of Evolution
Home Watch is not yet an officially recognized business profession. There are no industry specific regulations, standards, tests, certification or credentials. Home Watch does not have a code or category for business insurance coverage and most insurance companies are not sure how to write a policy for home watch businesses.
Technically, anyone can start a home watch business and take keys to the homes of seasonal residents. It is on-the-job-training for many service providers. In many cases, there are disastrous results.
Much has changed in the last decade. The original home watchers were often neighbors doing favors who may not have even been paid for their so-called favor. They were certainly not insured or trained. Hobby Home Watchers started to collect fees but never established a business structure, often were not insured, did not even have a contract with their clients. The seasonal homeowners believed that this was the standard and, years ago, it was.
With the introduction of professional training, home watch software, trade organizations, and social media, Home Watch has gained visibility. However, professional standards and consistency of message are still missing.
The insurance industry has introduced some language in their homeowner policies to address the potential denial of a damage claim if there is no proof that the home had someone checking on it. However, it is ill-defined. They use terms like house-sitter or caretaker. There is no reference to professional Home Watch.
It is time to make a change and the time is now. The International Home Watch Alliance is here to lead the way.