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Financial Conversations with Fitz #55 - Flood Forecast: Is your House and Insurance Set up? - 03/01/2010

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March 1st in like a lamb!   Markets look to be up a bit to start March.   Des Moines said their snow shrunk 1 inch this weekend.    They are bracing for floods.   St. Paul, MN  is bracing for floods.    I think we all need to prepare for extra water this spring.      I want to visit about how you can get prepared for extra water, even if we don’t all live on a river.   Most of the snow might go down into the ground.   Problem there is the large carryover of subsoil moisture from this fall.   There are several things you can do around your house to be sure it doesn’t run in from the eave troughs or from around the house.   Check them as soon as they start to melt.   Be sure to check the settling around your house.   Check some obvious seepage in your basement before it completely melts.

The other big thing you can do it to review your insurance policy at home.   If you have any questions, be sure to check with Jeff and the crew at Boyken Insurance Agency or your carrier.   A lot of water problems are not covered under regular homeowners insurance.   If your sewer/drain backs up from a city problem or high water is one of those that is not covered without endorsement.    This endorsement can only be added at anniversary time.   This has a small cost that is added to your premium.   I have that coverage on mine.   It is peace of mind.    Be sure to inventory what is in your basement and what it would cost to replace.   You can get to $20,000 in a hurry if you have your appliances in the basement.   Add much more if you have a finished family or rec room in your basement.   This is a good investment, but does take action on your part.   It comes is specific dollar amounts.   

Another item that is a big surprise is seepage.   This is not covered under most policies.    It is a condition of your wall and not an accident.   This could be a big problem this spring with the high water table we have even before the snow starts to melt.   If you have a broken pipe or something caused by a nature storm to cause your house to flood from having the roof blown off is usually covered.

The biggest confusion is an actual flood.   Your regular house insurance does not cover this.   You can buy a regular house flood insurance but that is a separate policy completely.   The rate is determined by a location factor and chances of an actual flood.  

Now if this isn’t confusing enough, usually uncared for water damage is usually followed by rot, mold or mildew.    This is not covered.   It is a maintenance problem caused by water.   So to be safe be sure to make a point to review your policy with your agent or come into see us at Thompson, Forest City or Titonka.

Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations.  When you work with them, you know that you will also see them sitting with you at ball games, church or community events.  So, if in doubt give us a call.