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How to protect your home from a flood

Take these precautions when moving to an area where flooding is a concern.

There are several things you need to know before moving to a new neighborhood where flooding is a concern. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety estimated that the average annual amount of damages from flooding in the U.S. is $8.3 billion. However, there are ways to safeguard your home so you can reduce the risk of costly damages. Safety and insurance requirements, lawn installations and even how you position your furniture and electronics are all considerations to make when planning to move to a new area that gets a lot of rain. Follow this guide to planning appropriately for the change in environmental circumstances.

Invest in flood insurance

Check to see if flood insurance is required in your area, and consider purchasing it even if you don't have to. Floods could happen in any state, and you want to be covered if anything happens. According to the IIBHS, your home's foundation and its necessary equipment are all covered with flood insurance. Should a flood occur, you would be reimbursed up to a certain point for any damages that are caused. 

Keep electrical systems elevated

When water and electricity meet, it could cause a dangerous situation for you and your family. As a result, all electrical systems, like switches, wiring and sockets, should be raised about a foot above your area's flood level, recommended the IIBHS. 

In addition to circuits and wiring, your water heater, stove, washing machine and other appliances should also stay above the estimated level to ensure protection from water damage, noted the IIBHS. For the same reasons, your television should be mounted to the wall, and other electrical equipment should be well above the ground.

Waterproof your interior

While it's impossible to completely waterproof everything, there are some modifications you can make to a new home to keep it as protected as possible from water damage. Try opting for area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpeting in the rooms in your home, as they could become waterlogged, which could create mold and cause them to need to be replaced. Area rugs can be discarded should damage occur. When possible, use tiling on floors in the kitchen and bathroom to provide extra protection from water. There's also the option of painting a waterproof coating on the walls to help keep it from peeling due to moisture.

Protect your yard

When it comes to the outside of your new home, it's a little more difficult. Since you can't protect the outdoors from inclement weather, you'll have to make several modifications to ensure that the damage doesn't pose a threat to your family. The IIBHS recommended installing sewer backflow valves, which can stop sewage from getting backed up and entering your house. If you drink well water, it's important to take measures to ensure the water doesn't get contaminated by the flood. Contact a contractor who specializes in well-drilling to see what needs to be done to keep the water safe for consumption.

Also, just like your valuables inside your home, your outdoor equipment should be elevated. Bankrate suggested raising things like fuel tanks and air conditioning units, which could become damaged or even create a dangerous situation if they're submerged in water. Additionally, all generators should be kept above the flood level to ensure safety and the quality of the equipment.

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