Bel Air News & Views sponsor Chip Schilling of Northern Chesapeake Insurance has some tips on protecting your home from expensive damage that could be caused by today’s heavy rains.
Heavy rain can cause serious damage to your home if you haven’t taken some very basic precautions
With the tremendous amount of rain expected all day today and this evening, make sure that you take precautions to protect your home and personal belongings from serious water damage. When such a large amount of rain falls over a short period of time, the resulting flow of water can cause major problems if the homeowner hasn’t taken precautions to make sure that the “systems” designed to move water away from their home are in proper working order. A homeowner should inspect the following frequently forgotten items:
– Any drains located around the home or in stair wells outside the home – when debris, dirt or leaves cover these drains, they will not work as intended and they will cause water to back-up and possibly rise high enough to flood your home.
– Downspouts/Splash Blocks – make sure that your downspouts and splash blocks are attached properly and placed in such a manner that will deliver water away from your home and not allow it to “pool” around your walls/foundation.
– Gutters – make sure that your gutters are free from debris that can cause them to clog. When water can’t flow properly from the gutter to the downspouts, it will run over the edge of the gutter and cause water to fall around your walls and foundation (this defeats the whole purpose of what your gutters are designed to do). ALSO, make sure that your gutters are properly attached to your home. Over time, these can come loose from the side of the house and water will not flow into the gutter properly. It will find its way in the space left between the house and the gutter and will drain down and “pool” around the foundation.
– Sump pump – check your sump pump periodically to make sure that it is working. If it hasn’t run recently, check to see if water is entering the sump pump pit/well. If it is, when the water reaches a certain level in that pit/well, the sump pump is designed to “eject” the water out and away from the home. Make sure that the ejection area (end of the pipe leading outside of the home) is free and clear of debris. Beware that when the power is out, your sump pump will not work. Be prepared to bail-out the water manually in that case. Also, occasionally the float (device on the sump pump itself designed to monitor the level of water in the pit/well) can get stuck and cause an issue. If your pump appears to not be working as the water gets higher, check this float. You can reach in with your hand and raise it manually to force the pump to work.
Yes, the rain has started! But it’s never too late! Get out there with your umbrella and inspect these areas as soon as possible. However, even the most diligent homeowner can suffer water damage in the event of a storm like this. Because of that make sure that you have reviewed your homeowners policy. Generally speaking, homeowners insurance in Maryland does not automatically cover water damage as a result of a rain storm like this. In Maryland, you can add an optional rider to your homeowners insurance policy to cover a sump pump overflow in your home. This rider is called Water and Sewer Back-up coverage (or some variation of that). It is not very expensive, and it will cover a back-up of water from sewer or drain lines located in your home. Having this extra/optional coverage is the only way that an overflow of water from your sump pump would be covered. So check your policy!
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance and Water and Sewer Back-up coverage do not cover rising surface water that forces its way into your home from the outside. That is considered to be a “flood”. If rising surface water from a clogged drain, poor drainage, overflowing gutters etc… enters your home, you would need to have a separate Flood Insurance policy to cover the resulting damage. These policies are available from your local insurance agent and are written by insurance carriers through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is a program through the Federal Government. These policies have several restrictions and are not a guarantee of coverage in these situations. Therefore, the best thing to do is take precautions before a loss occurs. For details, contact me by phone at 410-420-3080 or by email at email@example.com
For more information on this and auto, home, renters, boat, motorcycle, RV, business, and life insurance, contact Chip at:
134 Archer Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
This post was sponsored by Northern Chesapeake Insurance Services
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