Flood Insurance, real estate water damage
While the fall of 2014 has been nothing like 2013, it’s safe to say that we all learned something about ourselves and our real estate water damage when it rained for a week last September.
But even rains that don’t escalate into flooding and ground saturation can cause damage, so it makes sense to take preventative action. Homeowners should stay on top of maintenance and repair needs. The average water damage insurance claim between 2008-2012 was $38,000 (from National Flood Insurance Program data). Yeah… That’s not even taking into account our claims in 2013 in Boulder County!
How can you protect yourself from real estate water damage?
Replace missing or damaged shingles. In most cases a handyman can help with this. It’s quick and fairly cheap. However, if you have T-Lock shingles, you have a bigger (more expensive problem) as the whole roof may have to be replaced. Call me for more info. Correctly installed flashing around chimneys, vents and along the sides of the roof is important too.
2. Gutters and Downspouts
If they are too narrow, pitched wrong or clogged with debris, water may come too close to the house and seep in. Deferring maintenance leads to damage to foundations, wood and siding. Way more costly than gutter corrections!
3. Windows and Doors
Broken glazing and seals can allow water infiltration. Don’t forget the garage door… With settling of the poured concrete, the garage door may not seal evenly all the way across and allow water to creep in. My seepage came with earthworms last year during the flood!
4. Foundations, Basement Floors and Walls
Check for cracks. Water entering cracks can cause foundation damage and when the temperature falls below freezing, the water turns to ice – which expands. It can increase the size of the original cracks… And lead to further real estate water damage.
1. Sump pumps
They collect the water and drain it out so it doesn’t enter the house. However, they rely on electricity, so in a power outage you’ll need a generator to keep it working. As part of your preventative maintenance, clean out the sump pump periodically, to clear out silt.
2. French Drains
Once dug/installed, this type of drain collects water from the perimeter of the home and drains it – often to the sump pump.
3. Interior Drain Tiles
Once the water has made it into the basement, having a drainage hole that allows the water to drain out and into a drainage system under the floor.
4. Boilers and Furnaces
These systems should be elevated off the ground at lease a few inches so that they don’t get flood damage.
5. Window Wells
Anyone else see the spectacular effects of window wells that didn’t drain, but instead filled with water until the water poured into the windows and damaged sills and walls, last September? It was dramatic! Make sure you have drainage in window wells and ensure that you clean out the window wells so debris doesn’t clog the drainage efforts.
6. Alarm Systems
Consider a system that sends a signal to your email or phone and alerts you of impending disaster.
Plan C: Act FAST to stop water damage in your home!
Deal with incoming water and damage immediately to save money in the long run. Time is your enemy when it comes to bacteria and mold. Nobody likes the smell of contamination and it’s really not healthy either!
1. Turn of the water if you are dealing with broken pipes.
2. Turn of electricity as needed to stay safe. Don’t touch electrical wires!
2. Call a professional damage restoration company to determine where the water has gone and the damage it might have done.
4. PRIORITIZE PEOPLE AND PETS. If water is coming in fast, you may need to get out fast. Lives matter more than your stuff… And you have insurance, right?
Absolutely a requirement for those in high risk areas, is flood insurance. It might also be wise for those of us who live near water or even those in lower risk areas to investigate additional insurance options too. “Many claims come from low-risk areas” says Lisa Jones, owner of Caroline Flood Solutions LLC.
Take inventory of your belongings. I advise my clients to photograph or video household items and valuables and to save receipts of significant purchases. You just never know when you’ll be submitting an insurance claim.
If you need a great recommendation for homeowner insurance – or just a professional insurance agent to run a question or two by, call me. Or call directly: Catherine March