The time has come and that vacation you’ve been planning months for is finally here.
But before you pack your bags, preparing your home as much as possible for any potential hazards or damage that could occur is just as important as packing the sunscreen.
And if you're on vacation, communicating back home with people who can help you eliminate the damage or get repairs made as quickly as possible is key, according to Laura Adams, senior real estate analyst at Aceable, an online educational platform and resource for agents.
Step 1: Be proactive
"One important thing to think about is before you go on vacation kind of brainstorming what could happen," Adams said.
Looking at the forecast to see if there are any storms that you know about, you have the opportunity to prepare for them. But there may even be some things that come up that you can't prepare for, so it is best to be proactive.
"Think about maybe clearing off your patio if you got light furniture that could be blown around or plants that could be damaged. Maybe think about bringing them in," Adams said.
Preparing for hurricanes, hailstorms, floods and tornadoes is a must for all homeowners. Any extreme weather event could damage the items that you have in your home and around your yard or even blow them into somebody else's yard.
Click here for a storm preparation guide when bad weather rolls in.
Adams said you want to make sure that your home is going to be safe while you're away.
"So that could be things like putting antifreeze in your shower and toilet if you know that there's going to be a hard freeze or draining your appliances of water," Adams said.
Step 2: Communication is crucial
If you're on vacation, and you find out that there has been a storm at home or some kind of natural disaster, Adams said it is best to go ahead and contact your insurance agent.
"They can actually begin a claims process if they know that the area has sustained some damage. You can get in line, if you will, for making a claim," Adams said.
Your agent may even be able to assess the damage from outside your home and evaluate what damage has occurred.
Communicating with people back home will be valuable, even with somebody like a real estate agent.
"Maybe you've got a good relationship with them. They may be able to help you with a handyman or figuring out what type of repairs might be necessary for you before you go home," Adams said.
Thinking about ways that people could get into your home and evaluate the damage and keeping your home safe from any theft at the same time is also an important thing to consider.
Giving your neighbors or friends and family a key to your home could be helpful, so they can actually get in while you're away and evaluate any potential damage.
"If you're not comfortable doing that, you could also install a keypad on one of your doors, and that's something that you can change the passcode to. You could give that passcode to a neighbor in the event of an emergency," Adams said.
Being prepared and knowing how to react when a storm hits, Adams said, can save valuable minutes. It can also minimize damage and make your home safer during any natural disaster.