Image of houses underwater caused by a flood.

According to the government's disaster preparedness website, www.ready.gov, the most common hazard in the United States is flooding. Whether the flood is localized in your basement, or more widespread and aggressive flowing through your neighborhood, floods can be surprisingly destructive and dangerous.

Preparing for a Flood

  • Do you live in a flood zone? Even if you don't, it might not be a bad idea to look into flood insurance. They're not always for natural disaster-sized floods and it's a small price to pay to avoid a larger bill in the future.
  • If you have a basement, take a good look around. Do you have valuables sitting on the floor? It's best to raise all belongings (especially expensive and irreplaceable items) off of the ground and onto higher shelves. This way, if your basement does flood, you won't have to spend extra money replacing the items you lost. Hopefully your insurance will cover a majority of the damages but, if not, you want to avoid as many unexpected costs as possible.
  • You may have had a home inspection when you initially moved in, but it's important to keep an eye on things around your home for possible hazards. Check your basement floor and walls for cracks in the foundation that could be an open invitation for flood waters. Additionally, keep your pipes insulated and warm to avoid a pipe bursting when temperatures drop.
  • If your basement has windows, those need to be safeguarded against flooding, as well. The most common window well covers can be found for around $10-$20 and will protect your home against water from sneaking in. They can also prevent snow, outdoor critters, and bugs from getting too close for comfort!
  • Do you own a sump pump? It's important to make sure it's working properly at all times especially before any substantial weather is about to hit. Your insurance will typically only cover flooding related to natural disasters. If your sump pump is the cause of your flood you might be out of luck!

After a Flood Occurs

  • If the damage is substantial, filing a flood insurance claim is one of the first things you need to do once everything settles down. To do this, you'll need to have some information handy:
    • The name of your insurance company
    • Your insurance policy number
    • All phone numbers and emails for anyone the insurance company might want to contact.
    • Photos of the damage, and a written inventory of the items that were damaged.
  • Once you're sure you have all of the photos and information you need. It's important to dispose of damaged items as safely as possible. This is to avoid injuries, further damage to the home, and mold growth.
  • If the amount of water in your basement isn't too large, you may be able to begin removing the water on your own with a Wet/Dry Vacuum. If there is too much water for you to deal with personally, it's best to contact a professional who can remove the water and assess the repairs you will need to make your home habitable.
  • Certain states operate under different guidelines when it comes to filing your claim. Because of this, we suggest you call your insurance provider in regards to the steps you need to take to file your claim properly.

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