How to Protect Yourself from Home Flood Damage & Costs
One tragic occurrence that happens almost every day is a homeowner discovering that their homeowner insurance policy doesn’t cover home flood damage. The stress from being temporarily displaced is only exacerbated when you learn that you may not have an insurance policy to mitigate costs.
Additionally, there are important caveats to your homeowner policy when it comes to water damage! If you experience an issue like a sewer backup, you typically will need a specific rider for sewage backup in your policy.
Likewise, leaky pipes and water damage from appliances in your home may not be covered under your standard homeowner policy if they arise due to lack of maintenance.
Read on to learn about tips for protecting your home from flood or water damage!
Flood Insurance Is a Must
For most homeowners, flood insurance is a given. Lenders typically require it for mortgages, but if you own your home or live in an area that’s not in a flood plain, it may not be required for you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it! Insurance isn’t just there to protect you against common threats, it’s also important to prevent financial troubles when the unexpected happens.
Any home can experience flood damage. Extreme weather can happen anywhere! Almost a quarter of flood claims are reported in areas considered low to moderate risk for flooding. It’s a big gamble to assume you don’t need it just because it’s unlikely.
The cost of flood or water damage can range into the tens of thousands or more! Damaged dry wall has to be removed and replaced, stored items in your home could be permanently lost due to damage, and electrical systems need restored to avoid future damage.
Invest in a Reliable Sump Pump
When your home starts to take on additional water, it’s your sump pump that clears it away. Sump pumps are a necessary tool in protecting against home flood damage, but only if they’re reliable!
Inspect Your Sump Pump Regularly
Sump pumps can fail. In drier areas where flooding is less likely, it’s possible for a sump pump to go unused for a long time. If your sump pump isn’t regularly inspected, you may come to realize that it’s not working when you need it most!
Testing your sump pump is different for each pump and based on how they’re installed. Consult with your manufacturer or manual for more information, or reach out to a waterproofing specialist for help to make sure your sump pump is functional.
Consider a Battery-Backup Sump Pump
Sump pumps are powered tools, meaning they rely on a power source to work. If your sump pump doesn’t have a battery backup, it’s relying on your home’s power. If you lose power during an extreme storm, or need to shut off power in your home, it could render your sump pump useless.
A battery-backup sump pump is exactly what it sounds like – when the main power line is lost, it can be temporarily powered by its own dedicated battery. This can be the difference between arriving home to a dry basement or one with a few inches of water during storm season!
Know Your Home
There are a few things every homeowner should know. Two of them are incredibly important for minimizing water damage when a pipe breaks or other appliances in the home begin to leak:
Water Shut-off Valve
If your home is flooding due to an appliance or pipe leaking water into your home, the best way to stop the leak is by shutting off the water. This gives you time to contact a plumber or other contractor for help, even if you don’t know exactly where the leak is originating.
It’s best to know where the shut-off valve is before you need it. Every second can make a difference, since pipes can rapidly dump gallons of water in your home.
Another core risk of home flood damage is when flooding an electrical components mix. Not only is this a hazard for your home, it’s a potential risk to your safety! Like the shut-off valve, knowing where your breaker box is important. In cases where flood waters are rising and can’t be controlled, such as from extreme weather, turning off your can prevent serious injury.
If your breaker box is in your basement or on the floor where it’s already flooding, don’t try to access it unless the route to the breaker box is completely clear of water. Turning off the electricity is important, but it’s better to evacuate or reach higher ground if you can’t do it before the possibility of water becoming electrified!
Small Repairs & Upgrades Prevent Major Disasters
There are a lot of steps a homeowner can take to prevent home flood or water damage. While flood insurance protects you against costs associated with repairing home flood damage, water damage is a bit different. Your regular homeowner policy may cover costs from water damage, assuming they were sudden events and not due to poor maintenance! That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your home and stay up-to-date with necessary maintenance and repairs.
Here are some of the common steps a homeowner can take to reduce their risk of water damage in the home:
Seal Cracks Before They Become Leaks
Cracks in your foundation are something you shouldn’t ignore. Not only are they potentially signs of water pressure on your home, they are often easy to repair. Fixing a foundation crack early can avoid issues with both leaks and mold! Experienced do-it-yourselfers can typically seal these themselves. But if they’re larger than a hairline crack, you may want to consider getting an inspection for your home’s safety.
Fit Your Pipes with Check Valves
Not all homes are equipped with gate or flap valves. These protect your home from taking on sewage water if the sewage system floods and begins to back up. Any pipe coming into your home is a potential source of sewage back up! This preventative step can be a major safeguard against the expenses of a sewer backup.
You may also want to consider speaking with your insurance provider about additional coverage options or riders to protect yourself against sewer backups. If you live in an area prone to issues like these, you may have heard the horror stories of how expensive these situations can be to remedy!
Keep Your Exterior Water-ready
The first line of defense against home flood damage takes place outside your home. You should have several systems in place that divert water away from your foundation, which prevents flooding from breaching into your house.
Landscape Grading – The grading of your landscape should create a natural slope away from your home, not towards it. Even a small grade towards your home could trap water and increase your risks of flooding.
Gutters – When rain falls or snow melts, your gutters are the first thing that catches this moisture and diverts it away from your home. Ensure your gutters are clear of debris, and consider investing in gutter guards to keep them flowing at peak efficiency.
Downspouts – No matter how good your gutters are, if your downspouts aren’t ejecting water away from your home, it may not matter. Downspout extensions are necessary if water coming from your downspouts is flowing back into your home’s foundation.
Contact Iott Insurance for a Quote Today
Iott Insurance has been a part of southeast Michigan for over 50 years. We can help you plan your insurance needs and find you the right policies or plans to protect you.
Or you can visit one of our three offices in southeast Michigan:
Blissfield, MI – (517) 486-4381
Lambertville, MI – (734) 854-4688
Petersburg, MI – (734) 279-2111
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