By MARIELLA FOLEY
Tropical storm Ida made its mark on much of the east coast and has been viewed as one of the deadliest storms to hit NJ. Many homeowners who never experienced flooding issues in the past were suddenly caught off guard and inundated with water in their homes, costing many residents significant losses. These “100-year storms” seem to be occurring more frequently these days. With global warming a very real issue, we may begin to see more storms like Ida. So how can we be more prepared next time?
Review existing homeowners’ insurance coverage – Make this a regular annual exercise to review your coverage with your carrier so you understand how specific scenarios would play out. Review the deductibles and determine if any changes are needed.
Protect your sump pump – be sure to check your sump pump periodically to ensure it is functioning properly, especially when preparing for an upcoming storm. A standard homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy generally does not provide coverage for water damage caused by a sump pump failure. Be sure to obtain a sump pump overflow endorsement on your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. This will provide added protection from costly water damage resulting from backed up drains or failed sump pumps.
Take steps to minimize losses – Check your home for weaknesses. If your home, including your garage and basement, tends to accumulate water from time to time, explore what steps are necessary to rectify the matter. This is a sign of a potential issue in the future. Consider clearing out unnecessary storage and valuables from these areas to reduce potential loss.
Flood proof your home – Work with a contractor to learn the best way to seal your foundation and flood proof your property, both inside and outside.
Consider flood insurance – Call your insurance carrier and inquire about the cost of this type of coverage for your home in your area and what is covered. Any homeowner can obtain coverage for a more reasonable amount, even if not located in a designated high-risk flood zone. While it would mean an increase in your annual premium, it will give you additional peace of mind to know that the proper coverage is in place in the event of a future flood.
These are just some easy steps to take to protect yourself against potential risks. If you are in the process of doing any type of structural renovation on your home, consider a more in-depth inspection to identify other potential issues or areas of improvement. Insurance is about protecting yourself from a potential loss. We have now seen how the unexpected can catch us off guard. Don’t let it happen to you too.