This post is more personal than most. For over a decade in Florida I recommended my clients consider flood insurance even when they didn’t live in a flood zone. Then I moved to Utah. “It’s a desert,” I thought…”our neighborhood has no history of flooding,” I reasoned. “We don’t need flood insurance.”
Boy was I wrong! I experienced my first flood this week, right here in Sugar House. Five FEET of water filled our basement thanks to a freak 200-year storm which caused Emigration Creek to overflow and redirect itself through our yard.
You don’t think about all of the things in a basement until they are underwater or floating on top of a muddy pool. Furnaces, hot water heater, heirlooms, personal records, appliances, the list goes on, and on, and on…
Our Allstate insurance agent, Jeffery Wilkinson, visited twice within hours to check on us and even delivered treats and water. He also called in a favor from a friend at Serve Pro to supply us with jumbo fans when other companies said they were too overwhelmed to help. We couldn’t have asked for a more caring agent, but unfortunately there wasn’t much more he could do.
This flood will cost us more than $10,000 in replacements and repairs (so far) because we hadn’t opted for flood insurance coverage. This doesn’t include the structural repairs we haven’t priced yet.Now we can only hope FEMA steps in.
My Advice (that I didn’t take)
Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance. In low-risk areas it may be less expensive and not too much of a burden to add (our home priced at $366 a year). But find your home underwater, and you’ll be glad you spent the money. Urban flooding event like this are becoming more common I’ve learned after diving into some research. And, they are expected to become even more common due to weather changes. This means you may not live in a “flood zone” as defined on maps, but could be at risk regardless.
“People look at me like I’m trying to fleece them when I suggest flood insurance outside a flood zone,” shared Jeffrey, “just make sure you understand what it will and won’t cover.”
He suggests that you ask about limitations, such as sub-grade spaces, which may not be covered. Even then, mechanical items in the basement could still be eligible, which would have been a huge help for us.
Now I’m heading back to the yard where all of my things are waiting to be cleaned and dried…or simply thrown away.