Did you know that homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding? Flooding is a leading cause of damage to homes and it is not covered by traditional homeowner’s insurance.
If you want or need flood coverage, you need to pay for it separately. If your home is in a flood plain, you probably already know this because most mortgage lenders require flood insurance to be purchased on homes that lie within floodplains.
Besides carrying homeowner’s insurance to protect your wallet from flood damages, there are several things that you can do to help protect your home from flooding.
As we mentioned above, if your home is located in a floodplain, you should already know that and have purchased flood insurance coverage as mandated by your lender. If you are not in a floodplain, you are not required to carry this additional coverage.
Regardless of whether you have flood insurance or not, there are several things that you can do to help minimize the risk of flooding and the ensuing damage.
One of the first things that you should consider doing, especially if you live in a high-risk flood area, is to put together an emergency kit that is ready to grab and go in the event of a flood. Additionally, you will want to have an evacuation plan for you and your family.
Your emergency kit should include:
- Extra clothing for you and your family
- Insurance policy numbers as well as contact information for your adjuster
- Enough cash to get you through a few days
You will also want to have an evacuation plan mapped out in the case of emergency. Plan on where you will go, who you will stay with, etc.
Flood Proofing your Home
Besides being prepared in the event of an evacuation, there are several things you can do to physically protect your home from flooding.
- Seal up any cracks in your foundation. You can purchase some very affordable mortar or masonry caulk which can be used to fill in any gaps in the foundation completely. However, if water seeping into your home is a continuous problem, you may want to look for a more permanent fix.
- Apply coatings and sealants. You can apply a sealant to your walls, windows, doorways and foundation that will help keep water from penetrating your home. These sealants can be purchased at most home retailers or hardware stores.
- Buy a battery-powered sump pump. Sump pumps are a great way to prevent flooding in your home. They work by pumping the water out to the outside and most run on electricity. This is a great solution until there is a power outage, therefore, it is best to buy one that runs on battery power (and be sure to keep it charged up!)
- Relocate your expensive or sentimental items to higher ground. If you have a multiple story home and flood waters are coming, moving your valuables to the second of third floor will help to protect them if damaging flood waters are able to breach your first floor.
- Install a flood sensor. Most home security systems offer flood sensors as add-on equipment. These devices detect small leaks before they can cause significant damage, saving you potentially thousands of dollars.
- Have sewer or septic line check valves installed. These allow waste to be able to flow only one way which protects against sewage flooding your home. You can have a professional install these or go the DIY route.
- Keep your electrical outlets and switches raised. All electrical equipment should be at least one foot above flood level to help reduce the risk of electrical damage.
- Have your lawn graded away from your home. If your lawn is tilted towards your house, this allows rain water to pool there and have a better chance of seeping in. If you are unsure of how to grade your lawn, hire a professional.
In addition to these tips, you should also make sure that appliances in your home are raised above the flood level as well. Water heaters, washing machines, air conditioners, etc. should all be raised above flood level, especially if they are in your basement. This can be as simple as putting your appliances up on cinder blocks to keep them off ground level.
How to Minimize Damage from Flooding
Sometimes, no matter how prepared your home is, flooding is imminent. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to help minimize the damage.
- Be sure that your gutters and drains are clear to allow water to run freely through them
- Utilize sand bags to block any gaps that could lead to flooding
- If flood water rises enough where it is close to reaching your electric panel, shut it off to prevent electrical damage
- Open up windows and door (if it is not raining) to allow air to circulate through your home and dry things out
- Make sure your sump pump is turned on and in good running condition
- Take photos and videos of any flooding in your home to show to your insurance adjuster, assuming you have flood insurance coverage.
When More Serious Measures are Needed
If your home is flooding frequently and you are finding yourself having to constantly pay for maintenance, consider investing in home renovations to fix the root of the problem.
A professional contractor should be able to come to your home and assess your home’s issues and determine the best ways to protect it from flooding. As long as you are prepared, you can take care of flooding issues before they get out of hand.