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Tips to Protect Your Home & Belongings from Flooding

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According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are one of the most common disasters in the United States. While some regions, such as coastal areas, are more flood-prone than others, the unpredictability of climate change exposes all property to some risk. And torrential rainfall isn’t the only culprit. Flooding is also caused by mudflows, rapid snowmelt during spring and ice jams during winter.

Even an inch of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage, shocking those who find out flood losses are specifically excluded from their homeowners and personal umbrella policies.

The primary reason your basement and home can flood during a rainstorm is due to poor or blocked drainage. To help you keep water from seeping into places it’s not wanted, use the following precautionary measures you can take to protect your home and its belongings from flooding due to surface water.

Use these simple prevention tips to avoid flooding in your home:

  • Make sure that the ground area within 10 feet of your home slopes away from your home’s foundation.
  • Extend downspouts at least 10 feet from your home.
  • Direct water flow from downspouts away from your home, being careful not to discharge the water too close to adjacent property.
  • Preventive landscaping can also help reduce the chance of a mudslide or flooding.
  • Clean the gutters and the drainage downspouts attached to your roof at least twice a year.
  • Have your roof carefully inspected at least once a year by a capable person to check the roof thoroughly.
  • If your house or commercial lot is at risk of flooding from a higher neighboring property, consider building a solid wall masonry fence on the water-vulnerable boundaries of your property.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.

  • Consider installing "check valves" to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.

  • Be vigilant for warning signs of an impending water flood problem.

Plan ahead! If flooding occurs, be familiar with how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves. Knowing how to do this ahead of time will help you to react quickly and minimize potential damages. 

Coverage in Action:
When floodwater from a severe, week-long storm started pouring through the walls of Becky Bentley's house, she knew she had to get out fast. In the short time it took her and her son to run upstairs to grab the family cat, the rapidly rising water trapped them on the second floor of their home.

With the help of a neighbor, they manage to escape. But when the water receded and Becky finally returned to her Atlanta property, she discovered most of the contents and drywall were unsalvageable. She thought her homeowners insurance would cover the losses; but found out most standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage.

"The water got so high, everything was just destroyed," Becky told the National Flood Insurance Program. "I didn't have flood insurance because I wasn't in a flood plain, so we were told we didn't need it."

Flood insurance provides the protection you need to cover losses after a flood ravages your property. The cost of premiums vary based on the amount of coverage you need, what’s covered and your property’s flood risk.

New flood insurance policies usually have a 30-day waiting period, so don’t delay in protecting one of your most valuable assets—your home. Twenty percent of flood claims are filed by people living in moderate- to low-risk areas. Are you in a flood zone? Do you know how to protect your most important investment from flood damage? What are your flood options? Don’t wait for a rainy day to learn about all the affordable ways Marshall & Sterling can help to protect your home and its contents, including flood insurance. Call us today!
 

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