Get Your Home Ready for Floods
You don't need to live in the Mississippi Delta to be at risk for flooding. Heavy rains, melting snow and inadequate drainage can also inundate a home with water. In fact, 25% of flood insurance claims occur in low-to-moderate risk areas.
- Find out the base flood elevation (BFE) for your property from the local authority that issues building permits. Use this figure as a guideline for preparing your home against high water.
- Have an adequate amount of basic supplies: plastic sheeting, sand and sandbags, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels and plywood. Prepare your own storm kit with this guide.
- Install a backflow-prevention device in the main waste line of your plumbing system. This will prevent sewage and storm water from backing up inside and flooding your home.
- Every spring, test your sump pump by filling the sump pit with water to ensure it switches on and operates properly.
- Construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering your home.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
- If you’re remodeling or upgrading, consider raising your heating and cooling systems and main electrical panel to a level higher than the BFE.
- The best way to prepare for floods? Flood insurance.
- Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding, so shop for separate flood insurance. If your carrier doesn’t provide it, call the National Flood Insurance Program at (800) 427-4661. Premiums average $400 per year. There is typically a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.
- Take an inventory of your belongings and write down brand names and serial codes. Making a video or taking digital photos will help with your documentation.
- Consider keeping insurance policies, deeds and other crucial documents in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box.
Originally Published: August 29, 2017