You've already thought of and prepared for what you will do to protect your home in case of a fire, but what will you do in case of a flood? If you are in a high-risk area, you are 7 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire during your 30 year mortgage. Let's take a look at some ways you can get your home and family ready in case of flooding.
Know Your Flood Risk
Do you know what your flood zone is? Chances are if you are in a high-risk zone or have just purchased your home you might. If you rent or have been in your home for a while you might not be sure or it could have changed. Good news! 1st Direct provides free risk assessments so make sure to contact us so you know your risk.
Get Flood Insurance
Now that you know your risk, it's time to work with your 1st Direct agent to find the right policy for you. We will help you navigate all the options and see if a NFIP/WYO policy or a private flood insurance policy is right for you with the price and coverage you need.
Tip: It's a good idea to create an inventory of your belongings in case of a loss. Take photos, make a list and keep any receipts for high cost items. There are some great online tools that can help, check out the free Encircle inventory app on Google Play or the App Store.
Put Together a Plan
You should be feeling much more prepared at this point now that you know your risk and have a policy in place. Next you need to create a plan for what you and your family will do if disaster does strike. Think through the whole process including what you need to bring with you in case of evacuation. Don't forget to plan for your pets as well. FEMA advises people to remember “The Five Ps of Evacuation: People, Prescriptions, Paper, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items.”
It is a good idea to take pictures of important documents with your a phone and keep copies of documents and files on a flashdrive that you can carry with you if you need to evacuate.
If you stay in your home, consider what will you need if services are cut off in your area. Make sure you have a supply of food, water, first aid kit, prescriptions and anything else you may need if unable to leave your home for an extended period. Consider filling your bathtubs, sinks and containers with tap water. If water service goes out or is contaminated by floodwater, you can have clean water. Keep a weather radio on hand with some extra batteries and have all your devices fully charged so you can keep in touch with friends and family.
Visit https://www.ready.gov/plan for some great information on how to make a plan.
Prepare Your Home Before a Storm
Look at your home and envision where water might come in and what it might affect. Basements tend to be the most vulnerable to flooding (make sure to talk to us about what is covered in a basement under your flood policy) so lift major appliances such as your furnace, air conditioner, electrical unit, and hot water heater to keep them from being flooded. Take a look at your outlets as well, they should be at least a foot above where flooding would be likely. If you see some any that need to be moved, make sure to have a professional address them for you. Also consider installing a sump pump if you don't have one. Check to see if your plumbing has back-up or backflow valves installed and have them installed by a plumber if needed. Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
When a Storm is Approaching
If there is a storm approaching and flooding is likely to occur, make sure to move any irreplaceable or valuable items to an upper level of your home or off the ground. Look around to see if there are any loose items that may get swept away and secure them, try to store as much as you can indoors. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and are working properly so they can move as much water way from your home as possible. Utilize sandbags in entryways to help keep water out of your home. Unplug appliances and turn off the propane tank in case of power surges. If you have or believe you may have water above your electric outlets, turn off electricity at the main breaker switch. If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.
Communication is key so make sure you are receiving warnings and notifications via your phone, tv and radio. Flash flooding can happen very quickly so it's key to stay aware.
Stay safe, informed and prepared and make sure you have peace of mind with flood insurance.