Flooding is America's most common natural disaster, yet many homeowners are unprotected. In Grid Connect’s home base of Naperville, Illinois, rainstorms and especially winter storms and melting snow this season can create a high flood risk.
What Causes Floods?
Everyone lives in a flood zone and just because you haven’t experienced one in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. There are a number of factors that can cause a flood, one of which is weather. Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are often overlooked causes of flooding. More common causes of flooding include heavy rains and the spring thaw that usually begin mid-March to early April here in Naperville.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers?” Unfortunately, many times April showers also bring floodwaters.
The Cost of Flood Damage
Water damage can be deceptive and go undetected for days in places such as your basement. At a minimum, this damage will cause stinky odors while greater damage can cause your property and the things you care about to deteriorate to the point where they need costly repairs.
As little as two inches of water can cause devastating damage to your home. In a 1,000 square foot home, those two inches of water can mean up to $10,000 dollars worth of damage and most Homeowners Insurance does not cover these costs. In many cases, the sources of this type of damage require additional coverage or a separate policy.
Homeowners Insurance vs. Flood Insurance
There are two types of policies that cover water damage: homeowners insurance and flood insurance. Though many people believe that flooding is also covered under homeowners insurance, they are two separate and distinct policies.
Most homeowner policies cover damage to your home caused by a sudden and accidental water event such as a burst pipe, an overflowing toilet or melting snow that enters your home after a winter storm.
Flood damage is many times caused by environmental factors such as an overflowing river or lake or the ground being saturated with too much water after a violent storm. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, “A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.” Water entering your basement after a heavy rain or winter runoff is usually considered flood damage as well, which again, is not covered under your standard homeowners insurance.
Just because your neighborhood hasn't flooded yet doesn't mean it won't this year. It is important to talk to your insurance agent to make sure your home and belongings are properly covered especially if you live in an area where flooding events are common.
Do-It-Yourself Home Protection
Thanks to the “Internet of Things” revolution where everyday objects can be connected to each other through the Internet, there are a number of devices available that can help reduce the amount of water damage in your home by immediately notifying you when something goes awry.
Water sensors are readily accessible and inexpensive, especially in comparison to the cost of water damage. Battery-powered, smart sensors can be mounted near plumbing or other appliances that might leak. Installation is easy and requires very little maintenance beyond making sure to check the batteries and/or power sources regularly.
Once installed, water sensors will alert the you when water is detected somewhere it shouldn’t be such as in a basement, crawl space, or even just under a sink. These notifications can be received in the form of a phone call, text message, email, or for the social media-savvy, a tweet.
You can find water sensors through online retailers such as Amazon.