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Are You Prepared for Flooding?

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What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared?

Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you won't in the future. Flood risk isn't just based on history; it is also based on a number of factors including rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development.

Flood-hazard maps have been created to show the flood risk for your community. This helps determine the type of flood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding. The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are one of the most common disasters in the United States.

Even small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Plus, it only takes an inch or two of water to cause major damage to your home.

Flash floods can occur within minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways, such as rivers or streams, overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry floodwater away from urban areas.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.

Prepare a family disaster plan by doing the following:

  • Keep insurance policies and other valuables in a safety deposit box, and digital copies of important documents where possible.
  • Identify where you could go if you were told to evacuate. Choose several places, such as a friend's home in another town, a motel or a shelter.
  • Keep written instructions for how and when to turn off electricity, gas and water if the authorities advise you to do so.
  • Build an emergency kit

When A Flood Watch Is Issued:

  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Fill your car's gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.

When A Flood Warning Is Issued:

  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Fill your car's gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.

  • Gather emergency supplies and fill bathtubs with clean water.
  • Tune your radio to weather updates, disaster directions and signals.
  • If you must evacuate, take only essential items with you.
  • Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.

When Driving During a Flood: 

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
  • Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it’s more difficult to recognize flood dangers.

After A Flood:

  • Throw away food that is not safe to eat and use bottled water until the local authorities have determined that tap water is safe to drink and to use for cooking.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings and structures.
  • Do not touch fallen power lines.
  • Do not turn on your power until a qualified electrician has determined that it is safe to do so.
  • Wear protective clothing when handling hazardous materials or cleaning up mold.
  • Clean up flood damage promptly. Clean and disinfect everything that got wet as mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
  • Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.

Flood Insurance: What You Should Know
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover damages from flooding. A separate flood policy is needed to cover losses to your property caused by flooding, including:

  • Structural damage
  • Furnace, water heater and air conditioner
  • Flood debris clean up
  • Floor surfaces (carpeting and tile)

You can also purchase a flood insurance policy to cover the contents of your home, such as furniture, collectibles, clothing, jewelry and artwork. 

Your insurance broker can assist you in determining your flood risk and coverage options. Give our team a call!

 

Additional Flooding Resources