1. Prepare your house for 'vacation mode.'
Families should prepare their homes for 'vacation mode' if they're planning to be gone for an extended period of time.
"Turn off the valve on the washing machine, check the back-up battery on the sump pump and put high-end electronics on a storm surge protector in case bad weather should occur that might lead to flooding or fires in the home while homeowners are away," advises Ken Kozek, vice president of claims for Grange Insurance.
Kozek also advises families leaving town to have a trusted neighbor check the home periodically, alert the local police to increase neighborhood watch, put lights on a timer, and stop mail and newspaper delivery.