It might be hard to believe but spring really is around the corner. Unfortunately, with warmer temperatures comes an increased chance of flooding.
April Showers Bring May Flowers (what about the snow?)
New England may have been hardest hit this year but many New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians are also dealing with the aftermath of winter.
This year homeowners face two big spring flooding challenges: Temperature and rainfall.
If spring comes early with warm temperatures the snow will melt quickly and increase the chances of basement and other flooding. The concern goes far beyond the Northeast. In Iowa, for instance, officials are advising residents to carefully watch for flooding as snow melts.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a warmer than normal period in many parts of the country from April through June. Pennsylvania and New York are predicted to have normal temperatures during this period.
Flooding can occur when the snow melts too quickly, overwhelming the ground’s ability to absorb it effectively. Moreover, the ground is still frozen in many areas, making it even more difficult to absorb the water.
The other flooding concern comes from the amount of spring rain totals. Heavy rains during this thaw period can further overwhelm nature’s ability for the saturated ground to soak in and remove water.
Homes with histories of flooding are most at risk, especially since traditional homeowners insurance does not cover floods. Ironically, your homeowner policy would cover you in a roof collapse caused by snow, but not a flood in your basement or first floor.
While homeowners with mortgages in high-risk flood zones are required to carry flood insurance, policies are available to those in low and moderate risk zones too. Typically these flood insurance policies are much less expensive, costing as little as a $129 annually, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) .
Flood insurance policies are available through the NFIP but are purchased through independent insurance agencies, including InsuraMatch.
Preparing for floods
Now is the time to begin preparing for spring floods. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends homeowners do the following:
- Consider a flood insurance policy: If your home is at risk of flooding, you should research the coverage cost associated with a flood policy.
- Policies and Contact Information: Make copies of your insurance policies and agent contact information and keep them in a safe place in case your home is flooded.
- Conduct a thorough home inventory: Be prepared if you have to file a claim by cataloging your valuables.
- Sump pump maintenance: Test your sump pump and install a battery-operated backup in case of power failure.
- Consider purchasing a water alarm: A water alarm can warn you if water is beginning to collect in your basement.
- Clear debris from your gutters and downspouts: Ensure the water flows away from your home. Also, clear storm drains and drainage areas that help keep water away from the structure.
- Prepare an emergency kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid equipment, blankets and more.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route and contact plan so you can reach family members.
- More drastic measures: If you live in a high-risk flood zone and/or your home floods regularly, you should take extra steps, including:
- Anchor your fuel tanks
- Raise electrical components and wiring at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation
- Move your furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
- Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe location.
Give us a call at 855-244-7671 to speak with an agent about flood insurance or request a quote online.