Is your house in a flood zone? Wondering what flood preparation tips you need to know about?
Whether you already own a home in a flood zone or you’re thinking about buying one, you need to think carefully about how you can mitigate your risk. Floods can cause a lot of damage to a home and can be dangerous, so you need to have a plan to keep your home free from issues.
Fortunately, we’re here for you. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to do to prepare for living in a flood zone.
- Understand Your Risk Level
The first thing that you should do if you’re living in a flood zone is to make sure that you’re aware of exactly what your risk level is. There are different levels of flood risk and some areas are more likely than others to experience problems.
You need to be aware of these zones and if you’re in a particularly risky area you should know about it. Be sure to check out a FEMA flood zone map to find out exactly where you stand and what your current level of risk is.
Being aware is the first step towards protecting yourself against flooding, so make sure that you don’t skip this step.
- Know the Impact on Real Estate
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, it’s also important to realize that flood zones can have quite an impact on real estate. Buying or selling a home that is within a flood zone will require a slightly different approach.
While not legally required, you may want to disclose the home’s situation properly if you’re planning on selling it. If you’re buying a home, you should make sure that you’re well aware of the risks and that you have a plan to reduce your risk.
Going into a real estate deal without a clear awareness of flood zone issues can be problematic, so if you’re buying, make sure you know what to expect.
- Be Ready For a Mortgage
If you’re buying a home in a flood zone, you also need to be ready to deal with the realities of getting a mortgage for it. If your home is at serious risk of flooding then getting a mortgage may prove to be more difficult and you may get an offer that is less than ideal.
Additionally, if you have a federally backed mortgage and live in a flood zone you may be required to carry flood insurance at all times. Some lenders may also require higher deposits or have other requirements as well in order to reduce their risks.
- Get Flood Insurance
If you discover that a home you own is in a flood zone then it’s absolutely essential that you get insurance for it that covers any potential flood damage that may occur.
Flood damage won’t automatically be covered by a home insurance policy and will instead require a separate flood insurance plan. Additionally, disaster relief will often come in the form of loans and won’t typically be adequate to help you if you’re the victim of a flood, so you need to make sure you have insurance instead.
You’ll also need to get this insurance in advance rather than waiting until the last minute. This is because there will be a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance takes effect and can be used to cover flood damage.
- Prepare Your Home For Problems
In addition to the above steps, you should also look for ways to lessen the impact of a flood. Here are a few ways you can better protect yourself when living in a flood zone.
Elevate Anything Important
There are some pieces of home equipment and appliances that families typically keep within a lower level of the house or the basement. However, if you live in a flood zone, you’ll want to rethink these things.
Placing your home’s water heater, electrical panels, and your furnace on a different floor of your home can be helpful for minimizing the damage that a potential flood will cause. Storing valuables and important documents on the upper levels of your home can help as well.
Maintain Storm Drains
Another way that you can protect your home from flooding is to maintain and improve your storm drains.
You should keep all drains clean and remove debris to prevent your drains from getting stopped up. You should also consider installing check valves as well.
Waterproof Your Basement
If you want to keep your home safe during a flood, you may also want to look for other ways to waterproof your basement or a lower level of your home.
Sealing the walls of your basement fully with waterproofing materials can be very helpful.
Get a Sewage Backstop
Another way that you can protect your home during a flood is to install a backflow prevention valve for your sewage water. Backstops can be incredibly helpful if you find that rain often gets into your home basement’s floor drain after a strong storm.
Doing this will prevent sewage from getting into your home or basement in the case of a flood.
Upgrade Your Landscaping
Changing the landscaping of your home can also have a big impact on your ability to survive a flood and prevent damage to your house.
By changing your landscaping, you can redirect stormwater and allow it to get absorbed more easily. Adding more mulch to your yard, opting for brick or gravel driveways, and digging swales can be helpful.
Have a Plan For Your House in a Flood Zone
If you have a house in a flood zone, you need to make sure that you cover all the bases when it comes to protecting it. Be sure that you have the right insurance and that you’ve taken additional precautionary measures to ensure that your home doesn’t experience problems in the coming months or years.
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