With Hurricane Harvey fresh in our minds, the Sarasota/Bradenton area is on alert watching the path of Hurricane Irma. While the effects of wind, such as damage from fallen trees, is likely covered under your homeowners insurance policy, less your deductible, damage from flooding is not. Therefore flood risk should be on everyone’s mind.
Part of our preparations for Hurricane Irma should include planning for the possibility of flooding. Here are a few things you can do to before the storm arrives:
- Evaluate your flood risk. How likely is it that your home or business will flood? Even if you’re not in an official flood zone, you still might be at risk for flooding under the right circumstances. Twenty-five percent of all flood claims come from the preferred zones B, C and X.
- Know how to stay informed with alerts and information, whether you monitor local radio or TV stations, or listen to a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver. Make plans for how you’ll stay informed if the power goes out.
- Understand the difference between a flood watch (flooding is possible in your area) and a flood warning (flooding is happening or is about to happen in your area), and be prepared to evacuate if public officials tell you to do so.
- Know your best evacuation routes, and plan ahead of time where you’ll stay if you have to evacuate.
- Make a plan for communicating with friends and family. Write down and keep with you copies of important numbers, don’t just store them in your phone.
- Gather items you’ll need to take with you if you have to evacuate. Include clothes, food, water, first aid items, money, phones and chargers, and important documents such as insurance policies, home inventories, personal identification, and prescriptions. Also include any irreplaceable items like pictures or other mementos.
- If you have valuable or sentimental items you’re not taking with you, bag them or put them in plastic bins if possible, and place them in the highest safe spot in your home.
- Consider buying flood insurance for the future. Lakewood Financial represents several private companies that write flood insurance policies at a more competitive rate than those of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These policies also have higher available limits than the NFIP’s standard policies. (Click here for a flood insurance quote.)
According to insurance experts, only about 20 percent of the victims of the devastating floods in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey had flood insurance. The remaining 80 percent will have to find a way to rebuild with only the possibility of federal disaster relief, which comes in the form of low-interest loans which have to be repaid, or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster grants, which are typically not nearly large enough to cover the damage.
Floods are America’s most common and costly natural disaster, according to FEMA. They cause millions of dollars of damage a year, and can happen anywhere. Don’t wait until the water’s rising to prepare.
Give Lakewood Financial a call at 941-747-4600 if you have any questions about flood insurance, or if you’d like a quote. We are here to help.