Prepare & Prevent Water Damage from Heavy Rainfall
Water damage to your property from heavy rain can be avoided, but not everyone knows how to prevent damage before it happens. After disaster strikes, homeowners and business owners wish they had preplanned for a loss. According to West Bend Mutual Insurance, water damage is the second most filed insurance claim, accounting for $11 billion in damages annually in the Unites States. On average, water damage claims cost about $5,000. If left untreated, mold contamination will become your new concern.
We can’t control the weather, but we can control how heavy rain affects your home by using these preventative tips. First, let’s review the most common ways excessive rainfall can damage your property.
- Leaks through poorly sealed windows or openings in your siding
- Flooding in your basement or lower level
- Seepage in your foundation
- Mold contamination
- Roof leaks
Aside from the physical damage to your home, filing repetitive water damage insurance claims can cause your premiums and deductibles to increase.
How to Protect Your Home from Heavy Rainfall
Read through your water damage policy and make sure it includes flooding, as not all policies include it automatically. Many insurance companies offer it as an add on to your existing policy. Keep an inventory of the items in your home, especially valuable items. Store this list digitally through Google Drive so you can access it at anytime from anywhere or store it in a waterproof container in your home. Keep photos, videos, serial numbers, receipts and have appraisals done for jewelry or artwork. Include copies of your insurance policies and contact information.
Roof + Gutters
Properly installed gutters will drain water off of your roof, but clogged gutters cause water to pool with nowhere to flow. It’s important to clear your gutters often and schedule annual roof inspections to check for damage. Shingles can deteriorate over time causing weak spots in your roof for water to leak into your attic and through your ceilings. As a result, you run the risk of mold contamination in your attic, insulation, and ceilings.
Trim any tree branches hanging over or close to your house to avoid debris from falling onto your roof. Choose carefully where you plant trees and bushes as root systems can grow to wrap around pipes and cause cracking in your foundation.
Avoid damage to your foundation by directing water flow away from the outside edge of your home. Water that puddles or sits close to the base of your property can cause the foundation to crack, leading to leaking or seepage. Make sure the area around the surface of your home (about 5 ft) slopes downward away from the foundation and gutter runoffs are directed away from the home. Cracking in your foundation will cause moisture and dampness in your home, creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Additionally, termites are attracted to dampness.
If your gutters have not been installed properly, water can leak in between the siding and the inner wall of your home. Additionally, if you have any damage to your siding where the inside wall is exposed, water can leak through these openings as well. As a result, your home will collect water and create the perfect environment for mold to grow.
Windows & Doors
Any openings to your home, including all windows and doors, should be checked to ensure they are properly sealed. If you have a window or door that does not open or shut well, it is a sign that the alignment of the opening does not seal.