Even Chicago Can Experience Flooding

March 15, 2012

Are you aware that flooding is the No. 1 natural disaster and storm-related killer?

I bet you didn’t, and that is one of the lessons of National Flood Safety Awareness Week. The other lesson: Prepare now for floods before the spring storm season hits.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the average flood loss cost is $48,000 for homeowners and $85,000 for business owners.

There are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your home for the potential of flooding. Who knows what kind of spring Chicago will experience after this crazily mild and dry winter?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), higher-than-expected drought conditions increase the risk of flash floods, especially as the spring storm season approaches.

And, according to FEMA, everyone lives in a flood zone, even our Chicago real estate. It’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate or high risk area.

“Unfortunately, floods can happen anywhere, even in low risk flood zones,” said Mark Green, Allstate senior vice president.

“But there are a few simple things property owners can do to help prepare and protect their home and business.”

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety offer these tips to homeowners to prepare for flooding:

*Keep drains, gutters and downspouts clear of debris.

*Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to be sure they are working properly.

*Prepare an evacuation plan with a kit that includes insurance documents, medications and critical items in case you need to leave your home for a few days.

*Raise your furnace, water heater, electric components and any other permanent equipment at least 12 inches above the expected flood levels for your area.

*To prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve. Make sure your yard’s slope directs water away from your home.

And, of course, make sure your covered. Flood losses are typically not covered in homeowners’ insurance policies. Flood insurance is available to help you insure your home against flood losses, but some of them take up to 30 days to go into effect, so now is the time to figure it out.

“Insurance coverage is critical. Some consumers mistakenly believe that flood damage is covered by most standard home, renters or commercial insurance policies,” said Neal.

“National Flood Safety Awareness Week is a reminder for everyone to talk to their local insurance agent before the spring storm season to get information about flood coverage.”

For more tips on how to prepare for the rainy season at home, visit

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