Things to do before hurricane season starts – How to prepare for flood damage

Every year many people lose everything to flood damage. It only takes a few inches of water to cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Flooding can happen anywhere, whether you live in a flood zone or not. Flooding can be heavy rains, storms or inadequate drainage systems.

We encourage you to be proactive and find out how much flood insurance there is in your area. Did you know that a flood policy can be as low as $300 a year?

After purchasing flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure the safety of your family.

1. Protect your belongings

Create a personal flood file with information about all your belongings and keep it in a safe place, such as a safe or watertight container. This file must have:

A copy of your insurance policies with the contact details of your agents. A Household Inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics, or garages. Create serial number and store receipt files for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelery and works of art appraised. These documents are critical when filing insurance claims. Copies of all other critical documents, including financial records or major purchase receipts.

2. Prepare your home

First, make sure your sump pump is working, then install a battery backup in case the power goes out. Installing a water alarm will also help you know if water is accumulating in your basement. Remove debris from gutters and downspouts.

Anchor any fuel tanks. Elevate your electrical components (switches, outlets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood height.

Set the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood height. Move furniture, valuables and important documents to a safe place.

3. Develop a family emergency plan

Prepare a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio and a flashlight. Put emergency phone numbers by the phone and teach your kids how to call 911. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are elevated.

Ask an out-of-state family member or friend to be your emergency family contact.

Have a plan to protect your pets.

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Plus, flood insurance is usually not included with homeowners insurance, so make sure you’re protected this year. The Weather Channel predicts this hurricane season will be messy.