Is Your Home Flood Prone?
Floods are the single most common natural disaster anywhere in the world, occurring year round, and for any number of reasons, with causes both natural and man-made. Flood damage is not covered by homeowners insurance policies, something that many property owners don’t figure out until it is much too late to do anything about it.
Little known fact: as many as 25% of flood claims come from areas that are designated as moderate to low-risk flood zones. For those without proper coverage, the only aid available comes in the form of disaster loans from the federal government, which must be paid back in addition to any mortgage or rent payments that are due.
For homeowners, it is important to determine exactly how at risk their property is from floods due to severe weather, broken dams, snow and ice storms, and other problems. Areas that are located in flood plains or zones are required to have flood insurance, and many of these same communities are a part of the government’s National Flood Insurance Program, which offers federally backed insurance coverage for those in high-risk areas.
Flood risk profiles may be accessed by going to the floodsmart.gov website and entering the property address. If the property is located in a flood zone, then it is important to contact your insurance provider for information on establishing coverage. If the property is in an additional flood zone as designated by FEMA, then it is at a considerably lesser risk and probably not required to have flood insurance. Insurance is still available to you, however, and you would do well to consider taking on that extra coverage. Remember the 25% moderate to low-risk zones mentioned earlier.
If your property is not located in a mapped flood zone, it may be classified as an undesignated risk, with chances for flooding coming from stormwater ponding or storm drain overflow. Again, flood insurance is not required, but is available to you, and is something that you should consider.
In many cases, a trip to your local emergency management office can provide invaluable information on the flood history in your area. Since past patterns make for accurate predictions, you can examine past cases of flooding and make a reasonably accurate determination on the amount of water you may have to deal with. This allows you to make plans accordingly.
With most homes, the flood damage will be confined to the lower level, which means making sure that any and all valuables are above the projected waterline. Appliances should be moved to upper levels, or at least elevated so that they are not sitting right on the floor. Electrical and HVAC systems should be readjusted in order to keep them out of reach of flood waters.
Taking the steps to protect your home now will make things much easier to deal with when the weather turns rough.