Floods are one of the most common natural disasters a homeowner or business owner can face. Flooding can happen almost anywhere. Before you say “But, I don’t live in a flood plain.” Think again!
Where it can rain, it can flood.
While you haven’t seen your neighborhood or commercial area flood, why take a risk? In Texas, that next hurricane or tornado season may bring excessive amounts of rainfall and you won’t be prepared.
Let’s look at some tips you can use to prepare yourself, your family, and your business for before, during, and after a flood incident in Texas.
Before the waters come…
Here are a few of our top flood preparedness tips for you, your family, and colleagues.
- Know if You Are In a Flood Plain: Being in a floodplain doesn’t mean you don’t need flood insurance or that you shouldn’t know how to prepare for flooding. But, knowing if your home is in a flood plain is important information. Flood maps from FEMA are constantly changing. Whether you are or not in a flood plain can impact your insurance needs and any disaster support.
- Prepare Your Financial Documents: Gather all of your important financial documents and copies of personal identification records. Consider making electronic copies that are stored on a USB drive. Be sure the hard copies and electronic copies are stored securely in a safety deposit box. You will want to know where to find these items in the event of a major event.
- Secure Your Home: Have professionals come out to do some prep to your home. For example, seal walls, raise large major appliances (i.e. furnace, water heater, and electrical panels) when possible, and check valves in your plumbing.
- A Communication Plan: Talk with your family about how you all are going to communicate. Who and how everyone checks in with the others will help everyone get the information they need for their safety and security.
- Know Your Insurance Policy Details: Your normal homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flood insurance. You should take time before waters come to review your insurance policy details. We recommend doing this at least once a year. Flood insurance can be surprisingly affordable, but you need to make sure you have the coverage you need. Give us call to review your current policy. We are happy to help!
An Impending Flood Threat...
Now that you’ve prepped your home, family, and belongings. Let’s review the survival tips you need to heed when an impending flood threat is in our area.
- Watch the Weather: Make sure you are connected with the local weather authorities so you can follow updates on flooding or an approaching storm. Know the different warnings so you can determine the best next steps for you and your family.
- Check Your Emergency Kit: Assemble the emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, cellphone chargers, boots (in case you need to walk in high water), flashlights, batteries, etc.
- Create Barriers: Have supplies on hand to create barriers to prevent the water from coming into your home. Sandbags can be a temporary solution and easy to assemble. According to the Red Cross, it will take 2 adults one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags.
- Protect Your Household Items: Secure outdoor furniture and unplug electrical appliances. Turn off your utilities.
- Review Your Evacuation Plan: Know which roads are going to lead you to safety is critical. With severe weather, hurricanes, and flooding, your family should know which evacuation routes make the most sense. Follow marked evacuation routes when possible. Agree on a safe meeting place in case your loved ones are in different places or separated.
Flood Clean Up Tips...
If you’ve made it to this point, we hope you aren’t needing these next tips. But, just in case, let’s look at some of the cleanup tips to make sure you can get your life back to normal as soon as possible.
- Call Your Insurance Agent: Your trusted insurance agent will be able to guide you through steps to filing your claim. They will tell you when to expect an adjuster. They will help you know exactly what you need to document in order to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
- Take Photos of Everything: One piece of the documentation will be taking photos of your damage. Using your phone or a camera, take clear photos of the items damaged in the house as well as damage to the house from the floodwaters.
- Get Inspections: Depending on the extent of your damages, you may want to have a licensed inspector come out to review damages to your home, your roof, the foundation, electrical systems, and all major appliances. This will ensure that you get all the damages documented for repairs as you work to get your home back in order.
- Dry Out All Areas: Mold can be a huge threat during and after a flood. Getting your home and belongings dried out w/in 48 hours will help you avoid mold growth. Pump out any standing water. Open windows. Use fans.
- Throw Out Anything That Cannot Be Cleaned: There will be many items that you cannot (and probably should not) try to clean. Carpet, mattresses, upholstered furniture, stuffed animals, toys, clothes. These items can all be replaced. Trying to clean items that are difficult (to impossible) to clean thoroughly and properly could result in mold growth and issues down the road. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Now...as you might expect from us...we recommend flood insurance. Flood insurance will help cover the cost of property damage due to the flooding of your home or your business.
Your homeowner’s insurance will NOT cover damages from a flood! So, take a moment to review both your Texas homeowner’s insurance policy and any flood coverages you might have.
For Business Owners
Your general business insurance does not cover flood damage to your office, corporate vehicles, equipment or tools. To make sure your business is covered, be sure you explore Texas Commercial Flood Insurance coverage.
If you have questions about your current flood insurance, we are happy to offer complimentary policy reviews. We’ve served Houston-area residents and businesses for over 83 years.