Basement flooded? Here's what you should know about flood insurance

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola via WPVI logo
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Floods are the most common natural disaster, so even if you don't need the information today, you very well might in the future.

In light of all the flooding, many homeowners are wondering whether their insurance will cover the damage and how to protect themselves in case of a future incident.

Floods are the most common natural disaster, so even if you don't need the information today, you very well might in the future.

The first things you should do if floodwaters get into your house:

-Turn off the electricity to the affected area. All wet fixtures should be cleaned and dried before the electricity is turned back on.

-Remove standing water by pumping, mopping, and opening clogged drains.

-Disinfect anything that got wet.

As homeowners clean up from flooding, it is important to document any damage before throwing things away and cleaning up.

"A big problem a lot of homeowners are going to realize right away is that their insurance company is not going to cover this," said Kevin Brasler of Checkbook Magazine.

"If the water is coming up from the ground level, that would be a flood and so that is not covered by regular homeowner's insurance," said Maria Drayton, AAA Insurance Agent.

READ MORE: A guide to flooding in Philadelphia

However, if you have any kind of damage from Tropical Storm Isaias, you should contact your insurance company and try to file a claim anyway.

"You might be able to work on some reason for why they might pay to claim either your sump pump backed up, or it was a window well or window itself that failed and therefore you have, you know, for some reason, are covered for this," said Brasler.

And if the wind caused damage, whether it caused your roof to allow in water or knocked down a tree, "Then your property is covered because that's actually, that's actually coming from the wind itself that destroyed your home," said Drayton.

But let this be a lesson for the future. Many experts recommend every homeowner should get flood insurance, even if they're not in a flood zone.

"It ranges anywhere from $700 to $1500," said Drayton.

That's per year and consider that over the life of a 30-year loan. There is about a three times greater chance of having a flood in your home than having a fire.

Also, many experts said you should think twice before hiring someone to waterproof your basement. You should first address the source of the water on the outside which might be an easy, inexpensive solution, like regrading or even just cleaning out or unclogging your gutters.