As the 2009 flood season approaches, below are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your home.
- Develop a family emergency plan. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Ask relatives to be an emergency family contact, and create an emergency safety kit.
- Purchase or maintain a battery-operated radio for use during storms.
- Determine your flood risk by entering your address at www.floodsmart.gov.
- Continue regular upkeep of your home. Check your sump pump monthly, clear debris from gutters, anchor any fuel tanks, and raise your electrical components above your home’s projected flood elevation.
- Keep a copy of important papers and an inventory of possessions (film, photos, videos, etc.) in a waterproof container or safe deposit box in a secure place, or off premises.
- If you live in a high-risk flood region, consider purchasing flood insurance, which is typically not included in homeowners insurance.
Once a flood occurs, the following are important safety and sanitation tips:
- Move furniture and valuables away from the water.
- If flooding begins, go to higher ground or the highest level of your home, and avoid areas subject to flooding.
- Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams, or to drive through flooded roadways.
- If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
- If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
Sources: floodsmart.gov, HUB International Limited
“Claims related to water are among the leading property damage losses in personal insurance,” said James Kane, president, HUB International Personal Insurance. “Spring is the perfect time to assess your risk and review your insurance program for flood and other kinds of seasonal damage.”
You can find additional information concerning flood insurance at www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/index.jsp and on the Federal Emergency Management Association’s (FEMA) website at www.fema.gov/business/nfip.
“According to a 2008 survey by the Insurance Information Institute, only 17 percent of Americans purchased flood insurance,” Kane continued. “If you live in a high-risk area, it’s a good idea to explore safeguards and additional insurance. On average it can take up to 30 days for any flood policy to become effective, so considering this additional policy should be something every homeowner does prior to the summer months.”
The Federal government offers federally backed flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) making flood insurance an affordable policy, with flexible building and contents coverage options, in areas of varying risk. Claims for flood insurance may be made any time there is flood damage to a covered structure, structural component, utilities, or covered personal property.
It is important to work with the right insurance professional to assess specific needs and the right policy choice based on location, limits and several other factors. Only work with an agent or broker who has a strong pulse on the market and is knowledgeable on the various coverage options available.
Headquartered in Chicago, IL, HUB International Limited is a leading North American insurance brokerage that provides a broad array of property and casualty, reinsurance, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services through offices located in the United States and Canada.
This information is provided for general information purposes only. It does not constitute professional advice and does not create a broker-client relationship. Please consult a HUB advisor about your specific needs before taking any action.