Any home may be at risk of flooding, even if it isn’t located in a designated flood zone.
“Floods are one of the top disasters in the United States in terms of cost, and they occur in all 50 states,” says Matt Goins, AAA Hoosier Motor Club, Vice President of Insurance. “Some floods develop slowly, while flash floods can develop without warning in just a few minutes.”
These important safety tips can help to help you decide what type of insurance you may need to protect your property in the event of a flood:
- Floods happen in all 50 states.
- Areas vulnerable to flooding include:
- rivers, streams and other bodies of water
- storm drains
- recent burn areas
- new construction areas
- urban environments with lots of pavement
- Dam failures and snowmelt can also cause flooding.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance if you are at risk. Talk to your insurance agent, and visit floodsmart.gov for more information.
- Avoid driving in floodwater. Flooding causes more deaths than any other storm-related event. Many of those deaths occur in vehicles. As little as 12 inches of moving water can sweep most vehicles off the road.
- Head to higher ground. If you have to evacuate, be cautious in floodwater. Avoid stepping into moving water and use a broom handle or stick to test water depth. Six inches of water can knock adults off their feet.
- Build an emergency kit for your home, car and work. Include a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, a flashlight and extra batteries, first aid supplies, medications, nonperishable food, a can opener and water. Keep essential electronics charged.
- Create an emergency plan. Talk with your family about where you’ll go in the event of a flood, how you’ll get there and how you will communicate with each other. Don’t forget to plan for pets.
- Shut down safely. Unplug electronics. Know how to turn off your power, gas and water, and, if time permits, shut everything down and move electronics and other valuables to higher ground before evacuating.
- Document your possessions on paper or with a video camera or smartphone, noting the replacement costs for your most valuable items. Place valuable documents and property in waterproof bags or containers.
- While standard home insurance policies do not provide flood coverage, if the home is deemed uninhabitable due to flooding all home policyholders are eligible for Flood Emergency Assistance, which provides up to four weeks and $3000 in living expenses.
- AAA sells flood insurance policies underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- The NFIP website – www.floodsmart.gov – includes tools and information that can help you determine your flood risk and learn about safeguarding your property.