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Preparing for a Flood
Extreme weather across the United States has led to flooding in many areas. If you have experienced flooding or are concerned about it, there are some things you can do to minimize damage before it happens.
Check your insurance coverage. Most homeowner's insurance does not cover damage from flooding, which most policies define as “intrusion of surface water from an external source.” This means that if water pours in through your window wells or around your door, you are not covered. On the other hand, you might have coverage if water—or anything else--backs up through your drains. Look at your policy, including the Policy Definitions page; give us a call if you have any questions. You can buy flood insurance, but it is not an ideal solution. Most flood insurance is provided by FEMA, and it usually has significant restrictions on what it covers and on the circumstances that trigger coverage.
Look into a good flood control system. If you experience flooding whenever there is a big rain, or if you want to keep anything valuable in your basement, get a good flood control system. Then keep it maintained according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. A flood control system is not cheap, but it can save you a ton of money and headaches later on.
Get backup. Make sure your sump pump has a battery backup, because big rainstorms often are accompanied by power outages. And, since a battery backup won’t run for days without power, consider getting a backup generator.
Stock up on other supplies. Make sure you have a shop vac and some heavy-duty dehumidifiers. And it might not hurt to have a portable sump pump. These sorts of supplies sell out quickly when flooding hits a community.
Talk to a contractor. You may be able to significantly reduce flooding by grading your landscaping to direct water away from your home. You also might be able to replace existing windows with glass block or other types of windows that keep water out; check with your local building department, though, because most places require that you have an exit from the basement other than the stairs.
Put together a list of cleanup firms you can call if you have water damage, then put the list where you can find it in a hurry. That way you can call a firm immediately, before they have a long list of customers in front of you.
Be realistic. If you experience basement flooding from time to time, don’t put valuable items on the floor in your basement. Put appliances on platforms or 2x4s, for example. Store things you really care about in your attic. That way, you have less to lose.
And if you do flood, act fast. As soon as possible, remove the wet things and start the drying process, or hire someone to come in and do it for you. You don’t want to end up with mold once the water is gone.
If you would like to talk to us at The Bensman Group about protecting yourself against flood damage, contact us at 847-572-0800 or email me at email@example.com.