Responding to Disaster: Floods and Water Damage

Even if you know your home is not built in a flood plain, there is always a chance the place where you live can be affected by rising waters. According to National Geographic, there are few places on Earth where flooding is not a concern. Anywhere rain falls is vulnerable to floods, though rain is not the only cause (also, think about ruptured dams or levees, rapid snow melt, water-main breaks, etc.).

Flooding is the costliest and most common natural disaster in the U.S. The Pew Charitable Trusts has cited information that flooding cost Americans more than $260 billion in damage from 1980 to 2013.

According to Bloomberg, maps of flood plains aren’t always reliable, and they don’t always influence where people build or if they have flood insurance.

Facing such risks, you can protect yourself and your property against any life event that may come your way with coverage from RBFCU Insurance Agency. Among the facts listed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage. RBFCU Insurance Agency recommends that if you live in a designated flood zone or you are looking to purchase a home located in a designated flood zone, you will need enough flood insurance to cover all loans against your property.

You can also do some tasks around the house to limit the repair and reduce the risk of damage to your home, car or other property if you know flooding is imminent. Here are some tips from the Institute for Business and Home Safety on how to prepare for high water and – hopefully – limit the damage:

  • Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris.
  • Move furniture and electronics off the floor, particularly in basements and on first-floor levels.
  • Roll up area rugs, where possible, and store them on higher floors or elevations to reduce the growth of mold.
  • If you have a pump system that can remove water from areas that are notorious for collecting water, make sure it is operational, and that the batteries or power system is fully charged.
  • Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets have any chance to be under water during the event.
  • Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer, on mason blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.

If you have been affected by flood or water damage, the Insurance Information Institute offers information on how to protect you, you family and your property. This includes contacting your insurance agent as soon as possible. The Red Cross also provides information on how to get immediate help during and after a flood event.

When you contact your insurance agency, ask if they can direct you to a contractor who can arrive at the property and address damage that can be temporarily secured to prevent further problems. Later, plans can be made for an entire course of repair and remediation.

The Texas Department of Insurance offers recommendations on issues that should be considered when dealing with a contractor:

  • Get written estimates on company letterhead showing contact information. Get a copy of all written, signed copies of all agreements and warranty terms.
  • Get at least three bids to compare.
  • Check out references, and beware of a contractor who only offers out-of-town referrals or solicits door-to-door. Conduct online searches. Check for complaints with the local Better Business Bureau.
  • Don’t make final payment until the job is finished.
  • Be suspect of companies that offer to waive the deductible. Any company that submits false information to your insurance company about the cost of repairs is committing insurance fraud.

As part of our service to you, RBFCU Insurance Agency can help to make sure you have the home and auto insurance you need. Contact 1-888-564-2999 or insurance@rbfcu.org to request your free, no-obligation quote.

This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered financial or insurance advice. Please consult a financial professional or insurance agent before taking any action and to determine how the information provided in this article may apply to your situation.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.