Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Heavy rains, snowmelt, thunderstorms, and overflowing dams can cause potentially life-threatening flooding. Floods can either develop slowly or come on very quickly, as in the case of flash floods.
How to prepare for the possibility of flooding:
Know your area’s risk level: FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center provides maps that show the flooding risk in that area. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio send out emergency alerts during storms and other flooding events, which often go straight to your smartphone. Pay attention to those emergency alerts that pop up on your phone!
Purchase flood insurance, especially if you’re in a flood plane: If your home is in a flood plane, and you don’t already have a flood insurance policy, purchase one right away. Make sure your policy gives you the coverage you need, and remember that homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flooding. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect, so make sure to get your protection in place now, well before a disaster.
Have a plan, even if you think you’ll never need it: Make a plan for what to do to protect all members of your household, including your pets, in the event your home floods. Map out evacuation routes and have everyone practice so they’ll be able to get out quickly in the event of a flash flood. If there is a storm on the way, have an emergency kit, including drinking water, nonperishable food, dry clothes, and flashlights, ready to go in case you have to evacuate.
Make sure your valuables are in a safe place: Store important documents in a waterproof container or safe, and have digital copies as well on a device you can grab quickly if you have to leave in a hurry. Place valuable items on higher shelves. Reduce your home’s risk of flooding by making sure to keep your gutters and drains clear of debris. And make sure your sump pump has a battery backup in case your home loses electricity.
How to stay safe during a flood:
- Find safe shelter as soon as that flood warning pops up on your phone..
- Don’t try to walk or drive through flood waters. Even just six inches of water can knock you over, and a foot of water can move a car.
- If you need to evacuate, don’t delay! Follow all instructions from emergency response personnel, and stay away from barricaded areas.
- If sheltering in place is the best option, do so. If your home isn’t flooding or about to flood, it’s probably the safest place to be during a storm.
- If you’re trapped in a flooding building, go to the highest level you can. But only get on the roof if necessary, and once there, signal for help.
What to do after a flooding event:
- If you had to evacuate, go back home only when local authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Avoid driving in flooded areas, and continue to stay away from roads that have been barricaded.
- Wear gloves, boots, and other protective clothing when cleaning up flood-damaged parts of your home.
- There could be toxic mold growing in the dampness, so make sure to wear a respirator. Protect vulnerable people from toxic mold exposure while cleaning up.
- Flood waters might have brought wildlife into your home.
- Pay attention to the risk of electrocution. Do not touch wet electrical equipment, and don’t touch any electrical outlet if you’re standing in water. If you can reach it safely, turn off the circuit breaker to your home during cleanup.
- Call a restoration company to help with cleanup. They have stronger equipment and more thorough methods to prevent mold growth and repair water damage. Your Kamm Insurance Group account manager can help you find a reputable restoration company to make sure the cleanup is done right the first time. This helps keep you safe and protects you from the costs of shoddy work.
- File a claim with your flood insurance policy as soon as possible.
Contact our team of personal lines agents at Kamm Insurance Group to protect your home and add this coverage. We provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs!