Flooding isn’t a problem restricted to warmer months. It can occur any time of the year, in any part of the United States, and it is more common and more costly than most people realize.
In fact, flooding causes more damage than hurricanes and insurance risk analysts rank it the top natural disaster in the country based on the dollar value of claims.
As a result, homeowners need to take steps to protect their property and their finances from the costs associated with flooding. Here’s how.
Understand Potential Causes & Risks
Winter flooding can occur due to storm surges along coastal areas, ice jams, rapid ice melt, heavy rain, dam overflows, and more.
Homeowners near the coast, large lakes, or rivers are particularly prone to flooding. However, any area that receives significant snow can also experience flooding if the snow melts quickly. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for more information.
Don’t attempt to drive, walk, or swim through flood waters. Move to higher ground and evacuate if the authorities tell you to do so.
Conduct a Home Inventory
Most people only have a general idea of what they own, but that won’t help them if their home’s flooded. You’ll need to provide your insurance company with specifics to receive the compensation you deserve for a loss.
What’s more, most people own much more than they might think. Consequently, they are also underinsured. Without adequate insurance, you will not be able to return your home to the state is was before the flooding.
Luckily, creating a home inventory is simple! Many free and paid apps allow you to walk through each room, snap pictures, and find comparable items online for price estimations. Sortly, NestEgg, Magic Home Inventory, and My Stuff are a few of the top-rated apps.
Buy Flood Insurance
Anyone that lives in an area prone to flooding needs flood insurance. Flooding is NOT covered under your homeowner’s policy. However, water damage caused by a sudden event such as a burst pipe is normally covered, providing it is not due to poor maintenance.
We can arrange a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program managed by FEMA. Alternatively, we may also recommend additional coverage when an NFIP policy does not provide adequate coverage for your home and belongings.
We can’t stress how important it is for homeowners to review their insurance with their agent regularly. Insurance shouldn’t be a buy it and forget about it proposition. Your needs change and so should your insurance coverage.
We recommend an annual review to keep your insurance aligned with your needs. Provide your agent with your home inventory, ask questions, and definitely consider flood insurance, even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone.