New England weather has been living up to its unpredictable reputation. After last year’s vicious winter, one of the worst in recent memory, this year has been a relative breeze, at least so far. However, September saw one of the worst storms in Maine history, with 9 inches of rainfall in parts of the state. With spring rains on the horizon, now is a crucial time to protect your home and belongings from flood damage.
Many parts of Maine are at risk for flooding, as you can see from this Maine Flood Hazard Map (Maine.gov). If you live in an at-risk area, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk for flood damage in your home. However, according to Maine.gov, “25% of all flood claims occur in the low-to-moderate risk areas.” When you couple snowmelt with heavy rains, even low-to-moderate risk areas are likely to see water damage. Here are some basic steps you can take to help prevent losses from flood damage in your home:
- Review your flood insurance coverage with us (flood insurance is required by law in Special Flood Hazard Areas, but is recommended for homes outside these areas as well).
- Make an itemized list of personal property.
- Photograph your home inside and out—this will help settle claims for uninsured losses.
- If flood water enters your home, do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on dry ground.
- If you have access to your electrical panel, turn off any circuits that may have been affected by flood water.
- If your items are damaged by flood water, immediately contact your agent.
- If you don’t have flood insurance now, please note that there is a 30-day waiting period after purchasing before it takes effect—do not wait until after a flooding issue occurs. To protect against floods this year call us today.
Your personal safety and the safety of your family are the most important considerations when there is a flood. Having an emergency plan in place to evacuate is strongly recommended, as floodwaters can rise very rapidly. If you need to evacuate, turn off the main breaker of your panel and close your main gas valve if you have time to do so safely. If you encounter flood waters on the road, follow the advice of the National Weather Service and “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
It may surprise you, but there are many non-coastal regions in Maine and New Hampshire that are at risk for flooding. If you’re unsure whether or not your property is at risk, give your United Insurance agent a call today. Remember that there is a 30-day waiting period after your purchase, so don’t wait until it’s too late to call.