Flooding is perhaps one of the most damaging forms of natural disasters. Floods can strike anywhere at any time. Water damage is extremely hard to repair, and also difficult to contain. Therefore, homeowners should be aware of the need to prepare for potential floods.
Flood preparations include insurance considerations, home maintenance, and preparations during imminent flood threats.
Step 1: Get Flood Insurance
Homeowners must remember that standard home insurance usually does not cover flood damages. Home insurance may cover damages from unintentional or man-made floods, like burst pipes. However, it most often doesn’t cover damages stemming from weather-related floods. To have coverage for flood damages, you often have to purchase a flood insurance policy.
The law carefully regulates flood insurance policies. It is particularly specific regarding what homes need to carry flood insurance.
A combination of laws assign a flood risk to every geographic location. These flood risks are very location-specific. For example, your neighborhood might have a low flood risk classification. The next street over might have a high-risk label. Risk even changes from property to property. Your risk designation often governs how you must use flood insurance.
If you live in an area with a high flood risk, you often have to carry flood insurance by law. Low and moderate risk areas often can optionally carry flood insurance. Different flood policies usually offer coverage for a variety of claims, including property damage, loss and contents replacement.
Remember, a flood can strike anywhere, at any time. Even if you live in an area with a low flood risk, buying home insurance merits considering a flood policy.
Your insurance agent can likely tell you if flood insurance really will be beneficial to you. If you decide to forego this policy, your agent can also help you understand how your home insurance covers water damage.
Step 2: Maintain Your Home
Even after you decide whether to carry flood insurance, you still can protect your home in other ways. Neglecting your home may be reason for your flood insurance carrier to deny you a claim. Proper home maintenance also can help comprehensively reduce the chances of water damages.
- Ensure that your home’s windows, doors and other outlets have proper seals. Additionally, remember to consistently check your plumbing for signs of leaks or breaks. If precipitation penetrates these barriers, it could easily cause damages to the home.
- The foundations and structure of your home play important roles in keeping water out of the home. If the foundations crack or leak, they could allow water into the home, even when there is no active precipitation. Make sure that the foundations and structures have proper seals and that they do not crack. Many homeowners have to periodically re-align their foundations to keep structural integrity intact.
- Maintain the home’s roof. You usually have to replace a roof about every ten years. Damage or deterioration of the roof can allow water to infiltrate the home.
- Keep your gutters and drains clean and up to date. If your gutters clog or break, they won’t appropriately direct water away from your home. This could allow flooding even at times of standard precipitation.
- If you have a basement, maintain it and keep it sealed. Basements often have exclusions from home insurance and flood insurance coverage. Therefore, proper maintenance helps reduce water damage from affecting the basement.
Home maintenance isn’t always the most fun undertaking. However, it helps reduce your insurance risks when it comes to water damages.
Step 3: Prepare for Imminent Flooding
If weather conditions signal imminent flooding, homeowners need to protect their homes. Even if you live in a low flood risk zone, the potential for flooding merits consideration. Preparation is key to minimizing damages.
- Stay aware of flood safety orders issued by your local authorities. These may include road closures, emergency service reductions and evacuation orders. If you receive orders to evacuate your home, it is always best to do so. Stay in your home at your own risk.
- Many homeowners construct artificial barriers around their homes at times of flooding. Some people construct drainage ditches near the home. Others use sandbag barriers to create a dam around the home. If these practices work for you, use them as needed.
- Shut off your home’s major systems like the electricity, HVAC, plumbing and appliances. Doing so can help prevent damages to these systems.
- If you can move furniture and other valuable items to a high location, you can reduce damages. Store these items in elevated or waterproof areas.
- Keep a supply of emergency equipment like non-perishable food, generators, water and first-aid supplies. In case you become trapped in your home, these items can help.
- If you have to evacuate the home, secure it as best you can. Lock the home, and arm any security systems. Many people cover doors and windows with plywood to create an extra barrier against water.
Proper flood preparations can help you reduce damages if they do strike. Remember, your safety comes first. If flooding threatens your safety, seek higher ground immediately.
We have coverage for you. If you need Oklahoma flood insurance, we can help you get a policy that meets your needs. Call us at (405) 373-2977 for more information.