SL & Associates
Private Client Insurance Advisory Firm
Your home protects you from the elements, but heavy rains can weaken that protection. With a little maintenance and a lot of vigilance, it’s not hard to stay safe and dry.
Spring rainstorms are a fact of life in many areas of the country, and they help keep things green, even if they keep you inside. But when they get heavy, it’s time to start thinking about the potential impact all that water has on your home. The first step is finding and fixing any immediate problems as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then, you’ll want to take measures to prevent those problems from happening during the next downpour!
Where is all that rain going?
Your roof and gutters form a key line of defense for your home – and in a storm, they’re vulnerable, because so many things can damage them. Trees, hail, and other objects can create weaknesses that might lead to leaks in your roof, so check for missing shingles, detached downspouts, and other issues. And don't forget to keep your gutters clear so all that water drains properly. It's usually best practice to check your gutters 2-3 times a year. Backed up gutters, especially in winter with ice damns, can cause water to stay on your roof and find ways into your home if it cannot get off the roof quickly.
Are you checking everywhere?
Water dripping from the ceiling is hard to miss. Water in your crawl space, however, can easily go undetected because hardly anyone ever checks there. Don’t forget to look down there after a storm (or have a professional do it) to make sure everything is nice and dry. If you do see moisture, you’ll want to get it out with a sump pump as soon as possible.
And don’t just look up – another place to check is your home’s exterior, whether it’s siding, brick, or another material. Weak spots can be hard to see, so look at various times of the day in different lighting conditions.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep the elements out, too.
What about around your property?
Storm water has to go somewhere, and if your property doesn’t drain well, or if runoff goes toward your foundation, you could have problems. So watch for patterns, and grade property so it drains away from your home if possible. Always be wary of hillsides and tilting trees after heavy storms, because the land might not be stable.
And don’t forget to keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris. This can prevent flooding both on the streets and your own property. If water comes in from above ground into your basement, many carriers may consider this flood water and coverage may not be available. Speak to your advisor today to discuss your policy by scheduling an appointment here.
What should you do during the storm?
During powerful storms, stay inside. This is not the time to check your roof, your exterior, or your property unless there’s an emergency and you know it’s safe to go out. Monitor your interior, making sure no water is getting in. If it is, do what you can to alleviate the situation in the moment, even if it means just placing something under a leak to collect the water. For more serious problems, though, remember that safety is the most important thing. If your basement is flooding, for example, don’t go down there – you could be trapped and even drown.
Thankfully, powerful storms only hit once in a while. Preparing for them, however, should be on your mind a lot more frequently, because the next one could be tomorrow.
How do I know I am covered if, after taking all precautions, water still ends up in your home?
So you work hard to ensure your home is properly secured, but unfortunately you still ended up with water in your home. There a lot of ways water can end up in your home, but the most common way is water and sewer drain back-ups. This is either due to a failure of your sump pump, or the municipality cannot handle to amount of storm water in their sewer system. It is important to discuss with your agent the coverages you have on your policy, and make sure that it is sufficient for you. How do you know what is sufficient, the image above has a lot of great information, below is what I typically ask our clients:
How much of your basement is finished?
What type of wall material is in your basement?
What type of flooring is in your basement?
Do you have a bathroom in your basement?
If you were to lose everything in your basement, what would it cost to replace your personal property?
What appliances can we find in your basement?
One big item that tends to be forgotten about the water back-up coverage, is the clean up of the water damage comes out of this as well. Depending on the size and scoop of the damage, the bill just to clean up the water itself could be upwards of $20,000 before you even get to your belongs and the reconstruction that needs to be made. Make sure that you discuss all of this with your insurance advisor. Feel free to call us today at 419-205-9046 or schedule an appointment here to go over your coverages.