You’ve seen the headlines about record flooding and weather forecasts warning us to be prepared. As the snow melts and ground thaws, how serious is the risk, and what should you do to protect your property and family?
Federal officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warn that 200 million people in 25 states face a risk of "major to moderate flooding" through May, and the upper Midwest is in the crosshairs. Heavy rain supplemented by rapid snow melt has already widened rivers and put many properties underwater, and the National Weather Service (NWS) has warned that the trouble is just beginning. At least 91% of the upper Midwest and Great Plains has an average depth of 10.7 inches of snow, according to the U.S. National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center in Minnesota. How fast the snow is melting impacts flooding severity, so we only need to look out the window to see the risk.
You will often hear emergency officials warning residents to do two things:
It’s important to realize that flood damage is specifically excluded under most homeowners insurance policies. Flood coverage is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There are specific guidelines that communities have to follow for its citizens to have access to the program. Limits available through the program are capped, but by purchasing coverage through the NFIP, a customer has a much greater probability of recovery.
Flood insurance does have its limitations. We have found that a lot of misinformation exists on what exactly is covered, especially concerning flooded basements. According to the NFIP, flood insurance does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors, ceilings or personal belongings that are kept in a basement. What is covered are typically things integral to the structure such as foundation walls, electrical outlets, as well as appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc. Also, coverage is affected by whether you live in a flood zone and when your house was built. If your property is in a low-to-moderate flood risk area, flood insurance could be much more affordable than you might think. Always be sure to double check for specifics with your National Flood Insurance Program provider.
Not all residences or companies will qualify for flood insurance, but other insurance protections are available. If flood damage is excluded under the homeowners policy, you could add a rider or endorsement to your policy for things like sump pump failure and sewer back ups (read more). If you already have some coverages to protect your basement, consider the value of increasing your limits to offset the significant risks you may be facing. If you are at risk of a wet basement, talk to your insurance consultant about carrying the appropriate coverage. The extra cost could be well worth the protection in times of wet weather.
Aside from insurance, there are other ways you can prevent your basement from suffering water damage. Take the following steps to prevent loss of property and valuables.
It’s a fact that many people underestimate their flooding risk. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, more than 20% of claims filed are from areas identified as low or moderate risk for flooding, and about 33% of claim payouts go to these areas. The reason for this is often due to heavy snows melting quickly and causing floods. Don’t underestimate your risk, especially at this time of year.
For more information about protecting your family and property, please contact us.
As a Personal Insurance Consultant, Scott helps clients meet their personal insurance goals by thoroughly reviewing their current risk exposures and advising them on gaps in coverage.
As a Personal Insurance Consultant, Scott helps clients meet their personal insurance goals by thoroughly reviewing their current risk exposures and advising them on gaps in coverage. Once these potential short falls in coverage are identified, Scott will recommend solutions through a consultative approach, helping clients not only cover these risk exposures, but help them gain a broad understanding of what their insurance coverage can do for them. He has helped clients with personal insurance needs for 10 years, in all 50 states, and specializes in working with the complex situations of affluent clients.
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