Flood - Know Your Risk
If you live on or near a body of water, you could be at risk for flooding. Even if you don't, you could still face risk. Remember, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, reports that 20% of flood insurance claims are submitted by homeowners in moderate- to low-risk areas. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to determine your home's flood risk. Remember that flood damage is not covered by standard home insurance policies. You may need to purchase a separate policy through the flood insurance program.
During the Season
Floods are the most common of natural disasters. They also take the most lives each year. If you live in an area that is or could be prone to floods, make sure all your important furniture, possessions, and documents are located in the areas of your home above base flood elevation (in most homes that is above the basement). If you do store items downstairs, make sure the basement is constructed with waterproof or resistant materials and that all items are sealed in waterproof containers. Floods can approach slowly or very rapidly and don't typically have an expected season, so always be prepared.
When a Storm Threatens
If you know the waters will soon rise, move important possessions and documents into the upper levels of your house. Remember to turn off your utilities to lower your family's risk of electrical shock or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Evacuating your home in the face of disaster is never easy. But remember, evacuations are ordered for your safety, the safety of those around you, and the safety of rescue workers. Follow evacuation orders to stay safe. Remember to include your pets in your evacuation plan, and to lock your house before you leave.
When You Return
When you return, do so with great caution. There could be problems that aren't immediately obvious, such as a natural gas leak. Once you know the house is safe, give it a careful examination, and make a list – with photos – of any damaged or missing components of the house. You also should make temporary repairs – cover broken windows with a tarp, for example. But be aware that disasters can bring out the worst in people. Some scam artists will promise repairs if you pay a hefty deposit – then take off with your money.
File a Claim
If you have flood insurance, you should file a claim immediately after a covered event. Remember that pre-disaster household inventory you made? You can pair it with the post-flood examination you made. All that documentation could help make the claims process much smoother.