This past week reports have flooded in from across southern Germany and neighboring countries about the torrential downpours that caused rivers to burst their banks, causing extensive flood damage and displacement for thousands of local residents and businesses. Deseret News and other outlets are calling this “Europe’s worst blooding in 100 years”.
This somber and sobering time reminds us that things can change in an instant. Here are 5 tips to help you stay protect your home and mitigate risk to your assets.
Take a look at your Boiler
Boilers are particularly vulnerable to damage in the case of flooding. Like other HVAC equipment, your boiler is usually located in your basement to at the lowest point in your home. Moving or installing protective measures to ensure your boiler and HVAC systems are protected in the case of a flood can help save your systems.
Consider a Landscaping Change
When water travels over more porous surfaces it can be absorbed by those surfaces and is less likely to reach your home. If you have a concrete or asphalt driveway, consider converting to either gravel or brick. In the event of heavy rain or flooding, these porous materials are able to absorb water and keep it from streaming towards and into your home.
Evaluate Flood Risk
One of the best steps you can take to protect your home is to gauge your risk of flooding and act accordingly. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers a risk evaluation on their website. The NFIP is used to calculate flood insurance rates. It utilizes Flood Insurance Rate Maps provided by FEMA that help you visualize a home and communities possible flood zones and floodplain boundaries.
Any area with a 1% chance of flooding (also known as any home within a 100-year floodplain) is deemed “at risk” through this program.
While FEMA’s maps are a helpful stepping stone, they can’t tell you everything.
According to Chad Berginnis, executive director for the national Association of State Floodplain Managers, “[at best], FEMA has mapped maybe a third of the floodplains in [this]country”.
Ask neighbors and other community members if there has every been flooding in the area. According to NRDC’s Flood Disclosure Map, Washington state disclosure law requires agents and sellers of real estate to disclose knowledge of past basement flooding, past general flooding issues, pas damage from floods and whether or not the property is located within a floodplain.
Invest in Flood Insurance
You may not know this, but most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. In order to protect your home from flood damage you need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. If you live in a floodplain, flood insurance is vital to protecting your home.
Now you may be thinking that since you don’t live in a floodplain you’re in the clear.
Not so fast.
According to Joel Scata, project attorney and water policy advocate for the NRDC, “25% of flood insurance claims are made by people who live beyond those zones.” Just because you don’t live in a floodplain doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. No matter where you are, it’s a good idea to have flood insurance.
If your home has been damaged by flooding, MaxCARE of Washington offers water damage repair. Our 24/7 help line ensures a trained technician will come to your home within one hour of a water damage call.