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As many areas brace for severe weather, flooding from torrential rains, storm surge, or raging tides may top the list of storm threats. The flood experts at Bankers Insurance Group, one of the nation’s leading carriers of flood insurance, advise homeowners to take steps now to protect their property and possessions.
- Make video or photo records of your property, indoors and out. Include pictures of furnishings, electronics, clothes, and your most valuable household items. Gather any receipts for major purchases. All this will help a homeowners insurance adjuster if you need to file a claim.
- Create an emergency file of documents and information you will need if your home is flooded. Include the itemized record described above, along with your homeowners insurance quotes policies, auto and flood insurance policies, identification and proof of health insurance, and an emergency supply of cash. Put this file in a safe, flood-proof place where you can retrieve it easily.
- Check the outside of your home for items that might come loose and float or blow away, creating even more damage. Such items include patio furniture, awnings, grills, garbage cans, garden tools and large toys. Secure them or bring them inside.
- Consider measures to flood-proof your house. Some options include moving valuable or irreplaceable items to high shelves or to the highest floor in the house, purchasing sandbags, building plywood shutters or, for the future, having vinyl hurricane shutters installed. (Taping windows may keep them from shattering, but it won’t keep them from breaking.)
- Review your homeowners insurance quotes policy coverage. Be sure you know what is covered and what isn’t. Federal flood insurance is the only insurance that covers flood losses; homeowners insurance doesn’t. The government has a 30-day waiting period on most new flood insurance policies, so initiating a policy in advance of severe weather is essential.
- Don’t count on federal disaster assistance. People often overestimate the extent of federal aid. Federal disaster assistance only becomes available when the President declares a national disaster. Even then, federal aid is usually in the form of a small grant – averaging about $2,500 – or a loan that must be repaid with interest.
Most insurance agents who write homeowners insurance quotes policies can also write federal flood policies.