What to Do Before, During, & After a Flood in Florida
Flooding from large storms in Florida has been disastrous, to say the least. Flood damage from hurricanes has cost residents and businesses billions of dollars. For this reason, it is imperative to understand just how devastating flood waters can be and why we must be aware of all the risks involved. This will allow us to take the necessary precautions to protect property and lives.
When it comes to floods… There is a saying we have in the South. It means when something bad happens, more and more bad things tend to happen too…
“when it rains, it pours”
Pardon the rain metaphor, but it has never been more true than during large tropical storms. These storms are known for dropping a lot of rainfall in a short period of time. When heavy showers downpour buckets of water and it all starts to collect fast. So fast that gutters, sewers, and drainage cannot keep up in dispersing the amount of water present. This is the recipe for ever-rising flood waters that can get out of control fast.
In this article, we look at flooding and the things we can do to help protect ourselves, family, and property. With proper preparedness and know-how, we can prevent flood damage from getting worse. Floods and their aftermath can be absolutely devastating without the correct preparation. This is a serious topic since floods affect many people and their property in our country.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States.The National Council For Home Safety and Security
Florida is very exposed to flooding due to its low elevation and proximity to large bodies of water. As you know, the state is a peninsula the Atlantic Ocean surrounds on three sides. Not to mention water covers over 18% of the state itself. The actual Water Area of Florida is over 12,000 square miles.
Floods most impact those living in hurricane-prone states like Florida.
Hurricane season is June 1st – November 30th of every year
Expecting a hurricane? See our article on hurricane preparedness and checklists.
Facts on Flood Damage
The cost of property damage is the most obvious expense associated with floods. In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused widespread flooding that destroyed over 90,000 homes. This storm caused an estimated $50 billion in damages and $2.5 billion in lost business revenue.
What to Do BEFORE a Flood
Preparing your family, home, and property before flooding can save you money. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a flood from years of experience dealing with them in Florida.
Safeguard You and Your Family
- Educate yourself about flood risks in the area
- Have an emergency flood plan for your family
- Prepare a portable flood emergency and first-aid kit
- Practice first-aid procedures with family members
- Pay close attention to local weather and forecasts
Protect Your Valuables From Flooding
- Get or renew your flood damage insurance policy
- Elevate utilities and electrical appliances
- Keep important or expensive items off the ground
- “Floodproof” your doors with sandbags
- Build barriers outside to keep flood water away
During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets.National Weather Service
What to Do DURING a Flood
Floods can be very loud and destructive but do not panic. Instead, be aware of the situation and your surroundings. Know the proper safety precautions to help protect yourself and your family from harm.
It is vital to stay as safe as possible in the event of a flood. It may be a long time before emergency help can arrive at your location.
- Stay informed of water levels through trusted weather channels
- If instructed to evacuate, obey evacuation orders safely
- Practice electrical safety with everyone in the household
- Avoid coming in contact with flood waters at all costs
What to Do AFTER a Flood
Just because the storm has passed and the water stopped rising doesn’t mean you are free from danger. In the aftermath of a flood, remember… your safety is more important than your property.
Floods can leave behind physical, biological, and chemical hazards. Risks of various sorts that last for days and even weeks. Be sure to take the necessary precautions for the health and well-being of you and your family after a flood.
- Wait for local authorities to confirm it is safe to go outside
- If returning home, be careful to avoid debris and remaining water
- Remove standing water in your home to reduce further damage
- Take pictures of all damaged areas and your lost possessions
- Address any damage to septic tanks, leaching systems, or sewage
- Clean and disinfect anything that touches flood waters
- Use dehumidifiers to rid your home of moisture and reduce mold
Did you know?Caton Hosey Insurance
Florida homeowners insurance alone does not cover flood damage. Look at your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy for specific flood coverage. Review your policy with a knowledgeable insurance agent to protect your family and home.
Tips on Flood Insurance
Statistics show floods are the MOST common disaster in America. Nonetheless, flooding is NOT covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Lots of people are unaware of the facts associated with flood coverage. Thus, coverage for flood damage is often overlooked. Yes, many homeowners may have insurance to cover the cost of property damage. But, not all policies cover destruction from a flood specifically.
Flood Coverage Facts
- Everyone in Florida lives in a flood zone, contrary to what you have heard.
- Around 25% of all flood claims occur in low to moderate-flood-risk areas.
- Flood damage is not covered by homeowner, business, or other property policies.
- There is a 30-day waiting period for a policy to take effect, do not wait until the last minute.
- Federal Disaster Assistance, if available, is usually a loan with interest you must pay back.
- The NFIP provides coverage up to a max of $250,000 for the structure of a home and $100,000 maximum for personal possessions.
Don’t wait for a flood season warning on the evening news to get your policy. There is a month-long waiting period before coverage takes effect. When flood waters are coming, your area could get placed under moratorium. During this time, you can not buy a new policy, make changes to your existing policy, or upgrade your coverage.
How Much Is Flood Insurance?
How much flood insurance costs depends on several key factors. The location of the property is a huge component. The size, age, and condition of the building also plays a role. As well as the amount of coverage desired. Generally, flood insurance ranges from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand.
Did you know?Caton Hosey Insurance
Flood coverage can be as low as $129 per year for a preferred-risk homeowner policy and $162 for qualified business owners.
An experienced agent at Caton Hosey Insurance can help you find flood insurance for your home. Need help with your existing homeowners or flood coverage? Caton Hosey is here to help with over 70 years of experience with flooding in Florida. Our staff will answer questions and provide valuable insight into your protection. Contact us by email or call us at 1-800-767-3161 today.
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Only an inch of water from a flood is all it takes to ring up a big home repair bill. How big? This PDF from FEMA shows how much it would cost to repair your home and property based on water depth in inches. The numbers may surprise you. Estimate Flood Loss Potential PDF
Also, more than 23,000 communities have joined the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you live in one of those communities, then you can buy a flood policy. It doesn’t matter where you get your flood insurance because rates are set by the government program.
We hope you find this article helpful in preparing for a flood in Florida. The good news is efforts are being made to mitigate the effects of flooding. Achievements in flood control infrastructures and improvements in building codes are already underway. But, until then, the cost of flood damage will be astronomical for the foreseeable future. We must all do what we can to protect ourselves, family, and property.
- FEMA Flood Insurance (www.fema.gov)
- The National Council For Home Safety and Security The Complete Guide to Flood Safety… (www.alarms.org)
- FEMA & National Flood Insurance Program The cost of flooding (www.floodsmart.gov)
- National Weather Service During a Flood (www.weather.gov)