You’re a savvy homeowner—you likely realize the serious flood threat that spring rains can pose. And you may even be aware of hail’s sneaky tricks. Since those two are the top annual sources of damage to homes across the U.S., we’d say you’re up on things. On average, annual rain and hail damages amount to a whopping $8.3 billion and $1 billion, respectively. Clearly, there’s a lot at stake. So let’s shift from possible dangers to ways you can prevent damage to your home should flooding or hail storms strike. As always, protection and prevention go hand in hand.
Water and Your World
Cityscapes have harnessed intellectual and mechanical power, transformed landscapes, and fueled feats of engineering. But in the rush to change things up, it can be easy to forget that Nature reins supreme. Case in point: when rains are unusually heavy, sewer systems can’t always handle the flow. And with cities come paved surfaces—lots of them. Impermeable patios, walkways, streets, driveways, and parking lots can’t absorb all that rain—it has to go somewhere. And if drainage systems are older, the situation could be worse still. Even outside of city limits, homeowners may have local water bodies to contend with, or the backyard pond could begin to creep toward the back door. So now that this is a known issue, how do we handle it? By being proactive. Find a covered spot or grab the umbrella and head out during a rainstorm (no lightning or hail, please!) and watch the water flow patterns. That can give you a good indication of problem areas and hint at natural drainage solutions. Once you understand the specific characteristics of your property, you’ve got a good starting place. Trouble identified, it’s time to work toward a remedy. Effort put in now will spell savings and peace of mind during the next bout of bad weather. Check out these solid methods to reduce the impact of rainwater on your property:
Infrastructure: Divert rainwater via downspouts into landscaped areas or a drainage system; add a sump pump system to a water-prone basement
Construction: Slope patios, walkways, driveways, etc. away from the home; add drainage system to retaining walls
Landscaping: Plant trees and other vegetation, build rain gardens, and/or install rain barrels to collect roof water
Surroundings: Know your flood zone and the area’s risk level–especially important if a stream, lake, or pond is nearby
Maintenance: In areas below ground level, annually check pipes or lines that penetrate subsurface walls for leaks, seal any foundation cracks; maintain a sump pump system with battery backup in case of a power outage, or keep a generator handy
Installation: Elevate your furnace, water heater or any other permanent equipment above expected flood levels for your area
What if impervious areas aren’t sloped away from the home? It could be time to look into trenching or a drainage system that can work to divert excess water. And besides worrying about areas around and under your home, storm damage prevention should also include a thorough inspection of your home’s skin. Keep Mother Nature and her intruders at bay with regular maintenance of roofing material, flashing, siding, windows, and doors. If gaps are filled and repairs made, there will be a lower likelihood that water will find its way through. Most of these solutions could be handled by homeowners themselves. But if handyman isn’t your middle name, get in touch with your agent for suggestions on how to find a reputable and trustworthy contractor.
Weather with Attitude
Roof: replace and/or repair worn, curled, or missing shingles; consider replacing with penetration-resistant material if roof is aged and hail is a regular occurrence
Home exterior: clear gutters and downspouts of debris, touch up worn paint, and replace compromised siding—keep defenses up and elements out
Doors and windows: inspect seals for potential points of leakage; repair if needed
In severe hail storms, a stone as big as a softball can fall anywhere from 50 to 100 MPH. So the time to check for weak spots in your home’s skin is before the storm, never during. Stay indoors and keep yourself safe too, especially around glass windows and doors.
Storms may be the first culprit we blame for flooding, but oftentimes appliances can be just as guilty. Definitely follow all guidelines for installation, and just to be safe, why not look into installing a smart sensor that will alert you to potential leaks? Getting at a compromised pipe or tightening a connection is far easier than ripping out floorboards or ceilings after a leak causes major damage. We’re talking about washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, hot water heaters, sinks, and even toilets—anything that holds water could leak it too.
No Water Under this Bridge
There’s much to think about, and even more to do. But don’t let this stormy weather pass you by without protection being high on the to-do list. Agents are ready to chat about policy terms and catch you up on any additional coverage options available. We’re in this together: let’s protect you, your home, and all you hold dear.