Flood Insurance and Preventing Flood Damage: What You Need to Kn - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Flood Insurance and Preventing Flood Damage: What You Need to Know

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(KCEN) -- Heavy rains and clogged drains spell disaster for some homes in our area. The last couple weeks have threatened houses in McLennan County, and not just in areas prone to flooding.

If you're not already planning for the next big storm, you might be too late, especially for something like flood insurance. Unless it's a new purchase, there's a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to kick in.

When it comes to high water, homeowners will do whatever it takes to protect their property; just check out this video of a family sweeping water away from their house over the weekend.

"It's not going to happen all the time, but every couple of years we'll have like what we've had right now with flash floods," said Missy Duckett, an insurance agent with the Curry-Holmes Agency in Waco.

That's when agents like her say it's nice to be covered. But there are some limits to flood insurance.

"If you're in one house on a block that floods, you're out of luck," she said. "It's not going to be considered a true flood."

Typically only when multiple houses or certain amounts of property flood does it qualify as a flood under FEMA rules.

But whatever causes the flood, like blocked drains, shouldn't make a difference in the claim.  What will is what's damaged.

Your house is covered, but what's in your house is not -- unless you get a separate plan.

“There's not a whole lot you can do once the water starts coming in but try to slow it down as much as possible,” said Jorge Trujillo, an employee at Lowe’s in Waco who advises customers on flooding prevention.

Sand comes in handy once water starts to rise, and stores like Lowe's stock up this time of year.

“Ideally,” Trujillo said, “there are sandbags intended for that use that you would use the sand in that would hold better, but you can't tell someone with water coming into their basement that pre bagged sand won't help."

If water does get in, get it out – quickly – to avoid more extensive damage.

Wet-dry vacuums are a good option, and cost as little as $30.

And in areas not prone to floods, you could pay as little as $150 per year for flood insurance. Those rates are regulated by FEMA, so quotes should be the same from company to company.

But it's still no substitute for doing what you can to keep water out.

There aren't many ways to flood-proof your home, but making sure gutters and drains are working properly can save you some headaches, and some cash.

“Who would have thought we would have had this much rain in June,” Duckett said, “so who knows what we're going to have in July?”
Also, if you rent, you're not immune to flood damage. The apartment complex might have insurance, but that doesn't cover what's in your apartment.

Renter's flood insurance can run as low as $100 per year.

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