You May Need Flood Insurance More Than You Think
When it comes to flood insurance, most homeowners play a dangerous game of “Russian Roulette.” If they don’t live on a flood plain, or there’s not a major river or creek nearby, a flood just isn’t going to happen to them. Purchasing flood insurance would be a waste of money.
Think again! Each year, a variety of weather conditions cause flooding in the most unlikely places. Just one heavy rain or a fast spring thaw have left thousands of homeowners financially crippled and unable to rebuild their homes and start life anew.
The Staggering Cost of a Flood vs. Flood Insurance
According to Floodsmart.gov’s Cost of Flooding Calculator, just six inches of water can cause over $39,000 worth of damage to a 2,000 square foot home. Estimated expenses include:
- Cleaning: $2,000
- Wall Insulation and/or Paneling Replacement: $2,910
- Finished Wood Floors and/or Carpet: $15,870
- Kitchen and Bath Cabinets: $4,50C
- Living Room Furniture: $2,700
Are You Covered?
Many people are shocked to hear that their homeowners insurance does not cover flooding or damage caused by water backups, according to Snyder Insurance’s Personal Lines Manager Susan Camacho. Flood insurance coverage, or an additional endorsement for water damage from backed-up sewers, toilets, washtubs, sink and sump pump failures, must be added to an existing homeowners policy. Camacho warns, however, that homeowners should not to wait until the last minute to add coverage, because there is often a 30-day waiting period before your new insurance will take effect.
Preparing for the Winter Thaw
While preventing flood damage from a crested river or a sewer backup is virtually impossible, there are steps homeowners can take to minimize basement flooding and water damage during a winter thaw.
Sump Pump: Make sure that your sump pump is, not only in good working order, but that its cord is not in an area where it can be inadvertently unplugged by a pet or someone walking past it. You may also want to consider purchasing a back-up power source and having a plumber install a backwater valve for true peace of mind.
Off the Floor: Get everything off your basement floor, especially cardboard boxes containing keepsakes and photo albums! If storage space is an issue, consider installing wall mounted shelves or free standing shelving units that put your valuables at least 6 inches above the floor. It’s also good idea to use paver stones under the feet of your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank or furnace to elevate them as well.
Are You Water Tight?: Look around the foundation of your home to see that there are no cracks or openings in walls where water could seep in. If you home has window wells, be sure that you remove any collected snow or ice and install a durable cover to prevent further accumulation.
Clear Drains and Gutters: All of your drains, gutters and downspouts should be free of ice and snow, as well as any additional debris that could hamper proper drainage. That includes those on the roofline where water can collect and seep into attics and walls. Finally, consider connecting gutter pipe extensions to all downspouts to carry water at least six and a half feet away from the foundation of your house.
Your Sewer, Your Choice: Don’t wait for the city to come out and clean debris away from sewer grates near your home! If they’re blocked or clogged, backups are almost certain to occur, increasing the potential for flooding for you and your neighbors.
Questions? Need Flood Insurance?
Your Snyder Insurance agent can talk you through the steps you need to take to purchase a flood insurance policy. Call us at (630) 960-4848 or drop us a line today!