What Should You Do If Floods Damage Your Home?

How To Prevent Home Flooding This Spring

In much of North America, spring means flood season. The combination of snow melt, ice blockages, and sudden rainfall can swell rivers, overburden urban drainage systems, cause pluvial (surface water) flooding, and result in sudden and damaging flash floods. If your home is at increased risk of flooding during the spring, it may pay to review your insurance coverage and be prepared in case you need to make a claim.

Flooding can result in structural damage that renders your home unsafe, while sewage backups can bring contaminated water into your home, resulting in expensive repairs. Water damage of any variety can foster the growth of mold and mildew and become a major health hazard unless thoroughly repaired.

First, you should be aware of the flood risks that may threaten your property.

Flash Floods – These are fast-moving waters caused by heavy rain, rapid snow thaw, or both. Flash flooding can happen in mountainous areas, cities, near rivers, and on the coast. There is often very little notice and few ways to prepare for flash flooding. Flash floods can be powerful enough to wash away cars and trees.

Urban Floods – One of the most damaging types of floods in terms of infrastructure damage and damage to homes (due to the high concentration of people affected), urban floods are most often caused by drainage systems overflowing. Flooding in cities can result in sewage backwashing through pipes and into people’s homes. Check your insurance policy to find out if this type of water damage is covered. Urban floods can also make driving dangerous and cause damage to your car.

Pluvial Floods – The rural answer to urban floods, pluvial floods, where water collects in pools on the surface of the ground, are what happens when the ground can’t absorb all the rainfall.

River Floods – Riverbank overflows can be especially damaging in areas where homes are at risk. If you live in an area prone to river floods, check your home insurance policy to ensure that you are covered.

A law firm that specializes in home insurance can provide useful info for those who experienced property loss when it comes to handling insurance claims. If your home has been damaged by flood waters, you need to know what expenses are covered by your insurance. Your home insurance policy should cover:

 Structure / Dwelling – This section of your insurance policy covers structural damage to your home and repairs required after a flood. This includes the routine clean-up and drying-out of a basement to prevent mold, as well as much more intensive repairs such as replacing drywall or repairing the foundation.

Additional Living Expenses – Flood damage, especially from sewage overflows, can make your home unlivable until repairs are complete. If you need to move into temporary accommodations while the repairs are completed, Additional Living Expenses (also known as Loss of Use) should cover the costs.

Personal Property / Contents – Flood damage often means you must dispose of items affected by water damage, including furniture that could become a home for mold. This section of your insurance should cover the funds you’ll need to replace your affected personal belongings.

Start your insurance claim by reviewing and understanding your home insurance policy after a flood. Find out what types of damage are covered and what your coverage limits will be.