More than 40 million Americans live in flood zones. Are you one of them, and do you know the flood risk for your home? Floods cause billions of damage each year, and you want to do your best to protect your family and property.
You can do things to minimize your flood risk, including getting the proper insurance, conducting research if you plan to move, and upgrading your home. With sea levels rising, bigger storm surges, more surface flooding, risks will increase. Here's what to do if your home is in a flood risk area:
Flood Risk and Insurance
Purchasing flood insurance from an insurance agency is the best way to protect your property when you live in a flood zone. Flooding is NOT protected under your homeowner's insurance policy. You need a separate policy, especially when you live in a high-risk flood zone. Flood insurance covers the structure of your home, the furnace, the water heater, and the heating and cooling system. It also covers carpets installed in your home. You can also purchase additional insurance to cover other things in your house, such as couches, tables, clothes, and appliances.
Living in a high-risk flood zone without insurance can be costly. It's expensive to replace items such as your furnace, should it become full of water and become damaged. Flood insurance covers electrical and plumbing work, window blinds, and detached garages. If your house shifts off the foundation, you are stuck with costly repairs. If you are without insurance, you may never recover.
It's important to talk with a flood insurance professional about purchasing the right amount of insurance when you live in a flood risk area. An experienced agent can walk you through the process and explain the details. You'll have peace of mind knowing you have essential things covered.
Flood insurance is required if you live in certain areas. It's best to check the flood risk map first. Even if you don't live in a flood risk area, your property could still see flooding. Be wary of disaster assistance. If the president declares your home a disaster area, you'll receive money, but if they don't, you will not be covered. Disaster loans are low-interest, but it could take you years to recover. The overall cost of flood insurance is low, and should you need it, you will see the benefits.
Do Your Research
Are you buying a home? It's best to research where you want to live and find out if that home is in a flood risk area. The best thing to do is talk with your future neighbors. Ask about past floods, the damage, and the direction of the water. You should also ask about the progression of floods and look for high-water marks. Does the water keep getting higher even though the storms are fewer and less severe?
Regardless, it's best to check with the Federal Emergency Management Agencies Flood Maps. This is the best source. You can also find out what FEMA anticipates might become flooded in the future. Using flood maps is an easy process. All you do is enter the street address, which instantly tells you of the flood risk. In addition, you can always reach out to the local historical society. They may have pictures or maps to show you what flooded during major storms.
Just remember, flood risk is just that - a risk. There's no guarantee it will (or will not) flood. For example, a 100-year-old dam may be secure but may one day break, causing a lot of flooding.
Upgrade Your Home
There are many ways to upgrade your home to minimize your flood risk and flooding damage. Making minor adjustments can save you from filing a claim and doing less clean-up. Upgrades can also protect your valuables from flash flooding.
Put Your Home on Stilts
In flood-prone areas near the ocean or rivers, putting your house on stilts can save you the headache of dealing with constant flooding. With high tides or storm surges, the water can move under your home quickly. You can also put your home on concrete blocks.
Move Water Away From Your Home
Be sure water does not collect in pools on your property. Check storm drains and piping systems to make sure that water moves away from your home quickly during heavy rains. Clear your drainage systems of any rocks, debris, or leaves.
Do you constantly get water in your basement? Raise your water heater, washer, dryer, or furnace off the ground to ensure it doesn't get wet.
Install a sump pump in your home to pump out any excess water. A sump pump is an expensive way to rid your basement of water, especially when you aren't home or while you sleep.
Raise the Electrical Box
Consider hiring an electrician to raise electrical boxes, switches, and plugs from the lowest levels of your home. Can you put these items near the ceiling? Installing the electrical panel on the first or even second floor of your home will make life easier should there be a flood.
Check with a professional about painting porous surfaces with a sealant to protect you from flooding. Should water come into the basement, you can quickly sweep it out or clean it much easier. Using a sealant is an inexpensive way to make clean-up a breeze!
Living With a Flood Risk
Buying the right flood insurance, doing your research, and upgrading your home are all ways to protect your home from the next flood. As a homeowner, you need all of the necessary information to protect your investment.
Purchasing flood insurance from a reputable insurance company is the best way to protect yourself from flooding risk. Contact us today and get a free quote.
Act now before it's too late! Don't be left high and dry without the proper insurance coverage!