Prepare Your Home for Flooding, Even If You Live in a Low-Risk Area
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Flooding is so common, in fact, that you may not be safe, even if you live in an area where flood risk is low. According to www.floodsmart.gov, 20% of flood claims come from “low risk” areas. There’s no way to outsmart nature, but there is a lot that you can do to prepare for a flood. Being prepared with the proper tools and a gameplan can go a long way towards saving your home and family.
Get the Proper Insurance
Many homeowners believe their homes are safe with homeowners insurance, but your policy won’t cover flooding. Your insurance agent can set you up with a separate flood insurance policy. If you’re concerned with shelling out money for a policy you may never use, think about this: according to the National Flood Insurance Program, Americans racked up over $2 billion in damages between 2001 and 2010.
Prepare Your Home
Preparing for and keeping on top of minor damage can help prevent a larger problem.
- Keep gutters and drains clear. Gutters and drains serve the purpose of carrying water away from your home, so it’s important to keep them clear and able to do their jobs. Don’t forget to also check the drains on the street and periodically clear them of leaves and debris.
- Fix leaks and cracks. Getting into the habit of fixing leaks and cracks immediately can save you time and money in the long run. When water is able to seep into your home it can weaken the structure and provide the perfect conditions for mold to thrive. Seal up cracks in the foundation of your home with hydraulic cement—it’s inexpensive and will expand to completely fill cracks.
- Invest in a battery-powered sump pump. Sump pumps, which help pump water out of your home in the event of a flood, are a great investment. Investing in a battery-operated sump pump, as opposed to an electric one, will work to keep your home safe even when the power goes out.
- Invest in sewer or septic line check valves. These handy valves (which can be installed for only $10-15 each if you do it yourself) will only allow waste to flow one way, eliminating the possibility that sewage will backup into the standing water in your home after a flood. Expect to pay $100 or more per valve if you choose to have the work be done by a professional.
- Keep your important possessions safe. Unless a severe flood batters you, moving your possessions to higher ground (second floor, attic, etc.) can help protect your valuables. Also consider creating an inventory of valuables so you have a record for insurance purposes if you experience a loss. The easiest and most dependable way to do this is to take digital videos or photographs of your possessions and email them to yourself so you will be able to access them from anywhere later.
Even the most headstrong can get overwhelmed when faced with an emergency. Having a plan in place is the best way to ensure that you, your family, and your home will be secure and safe if faced with the worst.
- Put together a bag that contains the essentials, in case you need to leave quickly. Make sure to include a few sets of clothes for each family member, essential medications and toiletries, enough cash to last a few days, insurance policy numbers, and phone numbers for your agent and insurance company.
- Map out an evacuation route and know where you can go if your home becomes inhabitable. This can be the home of a friend or family member, or it can be a nearby hotel.
If ordered to evacuate, always follow the instructions of local and state authorities. Conditions can become fatally dangerous very quickly, and you don’t want to be caught with no escape. By creating an evacuation plan and keeping your home in good working order you can stay afloat if flooding threatens your home.