Q: What is the number one natural disaster in the United States?
Surprised? Don’t be. Worldwide, flood accounts for a mind-boggling 40 percent of natural disasters. And though there are certainly areas at higher risk for flood, it can—and does—happen anywhere. In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than one-fifth of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims—and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding.
This winter the risk is particularly great, not only due to the snowfall and thaw that many areas of the country experience, but also due to the El Niño weather pattern that is anticipated to bring unprecedented precipitation to virtually the entire state of California in the first quarter of 2016.
While we’re opening your eyes to flood risk, we also need to point out that the typical homeowners insurance policy and business owners insurance policy do not cover damage due to flood. For that type of protection, you will most likely need a flood insurance policy or rider on your existing policy. (And it could certainly be worth your while if you do experience damage due to flood: from 2010-2014, the average flood insurance claim was $42,000).
Insurance can provide you with a sense of security in the event of disaster—but the best thing to do is to prevent disaster from striking in the first place! And, fortunately, flood is the type of disaster that can often be prepared for (for instance, we know the spring thaw happens every year—and we certainly know that El Nino is gearing up to hit California in the coming weeks!).
How can you protect your property from flood? Here are some steps you can take now.
- Stock up on supplies, including fuel and fresh water.
- Do you have a generator? Test it to ensure that it is working properly. Make sure to take care of any necessary tune-ups or repairs.
- Don’t have a generator? Give some thought to whether it would be beneficial to your home or business to have one on hand.
- Prepare sandbags. Fill them halfway with sand (or soil) and place them close to where you’ll need them once rain or thaw starts. Click here for pointers on effective sandbag use.
- Modify your storage patterns. Store things up at a higher level if you’re able to, to prevent it from getting soaked with flood water.
- Take a tour of your property. Keep an eye open for lower elevations, for ungraded areas, and for flood risks like clogged rain gutters and roof damage. Make any necessary repairs.
- Consider getting flood insurance for your home or business. Remember, it takes 30 days for flood insurance to go into effect. The time to get a policy is now, before you need it.
Beall Financial and Insurance Services has been working with business-owners for more than 25 years to help them protect their most important assets, and their companies’ future. If you have questions about insurance coverage for your business, contact us.