By Marissa Goldstein
Spring is synonymous with warm weather and blooming flowers. It also means spring showers and basement flooding. Did you know that everyone’s neighborhood can flood and that flash flooding occurs in all 50 states? Did you also know that everyone lives in a flood zone? Worst of all, most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Flooding continues to be the most common and costly type of emergency that the commonwealth faces annually. Below are some helpful tips to better protect your home from a costly flood.
Flood zone vs. high-hazard zone
First and foremost, find out whether your property is located in a flood zone. You can do this by going to www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart and simply input your address into the One-Step Flood Risk Profile. This will tell you if you are in a moderate- to-low, or high-hazard zone. Surprisingly, 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from moderate- to lowrisk areas.
Understanding your policy
Next, make sure you fully understand your homeowner’s coverage. Ninety-nine percent of all homeowners’ policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance It takes 30 days after the purchase of a flood policy for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the floodwaters begin to rise. Flood policies in lowhazard zones can cost as little as $6 per week.
What’s covered The house, foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, furnaces and built-in appliances are covered. Personal property items such as window treatments, carpeting, clothing and electronic equipment are not covered.
Flood preparation tips
Keep important documents, including your insurance policies, birth certificates and passports, in a waterproof box where you can easily access them.
Stockpile emergency building supplies, such as plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber nails, shovels and sandbags. Keep a flashlight, batteries and first-aid materials nearby.
If you have a finished basement, understand what valuable items you have and be prepared to bring valuable household possessions to the upper floors or to safe ground if time permits.
Plug sewer traps with check valves. This will prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. You can also use large corks or stoppers to plug sinks and tubs in an emergency.
If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s working correctly – you should test it periodically (pour water into the hole) since it is a mechanical device. Keeping the sump pump in working order is vital to protecting your home and personal property from moisture damage, including mold.
Marissa Goldstein works at Aronson Insurance Agency, a leading independent insurance agency located in Needham and Newton. With three locations and a staff of over 20 insurance professionals, Aronson Insurance represents more than 15 insurance companies and services over 5,000 clients. For more information, please call 617- 965-3030 x148 or Marissa@AronsonInsurance.com.