Flood Insurance Blog

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Flood Warning: Evacuate or Stay?

By | Flood Info

If it’s been raining for several days and flooding is imminent, you will probably be asking if you should evacuate if a flood warning is given. Neptune Flood wants you to become aware of what your options are, should this troublesome event occur. Whether to leave or stay is best learned through knowing some simple facts.

Shelter in Place 
If you live in a sound structure, not a mobile home or RV, and are outside an evacuation area, stay at home. There are some simple things you can do to prepare for the storm or flooding.
Before the Flood:

  • Be alert
  • Have a family disaster plan
  • Be prepared to evacuate
  • Assemble disaster supplies and pet needs
  • Assemble medications
  • Move valuables to a higher level
  • Make sure drains are cleared
  • Keep important papers in a waterproof container
  • Buy extra batteries and have cell phones charged
  • Learn about evacuation routes
  • Do not drive through flooded waters

You can find out more about your flood risk by going to the FEMA service center page. You might also sign up for your community alert system; the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio will give emergency alerts.
Determine the best way to protect your family. If you receive a flood warning:

  • Stay where you are
  • Move to a higher floor
  • Evacuate if told to do so

Evacuation Order 
If you are told to leave, don’t panic. Move at a steady pace to ensure you get to where you need to be during the flooding. If an evacuation order is given, do not take chances by staying home until it may be too late. Do the following:

  • Make sure that your destination is not one that is in an evacuation zone
  • Take enough supplies for the family
  • Take your pets and supplies for them
  • Take important papers, insurance policies and agent’s name, special medical information
  • Take photos or irreplaceable items
  • Let friends and family know where you are going
  • Check on neighbors to make sure they have a safe ride
  • Lock doors and windows
  • Turn off electricity, water, and gas if told to do so

Leaving a Coastal Area 
You may only need to go “tens of miles, not hundreds of miles” to escape the storm surge. Roads may be congested, so avoiding the highway is probably the best bet if you are leaving. Remember to bring supplies with you. If you are planning on staying in a hotel or motel, make sure that it is not in a flood zone!

It is hoped that you have previously chosen a safe location to go to during flooding. If you have to leave, do so immediately and do not drive around barricades. Do not swim or walk through flooded waters. The saying is, “Turn Around. Don’t Drown!”

If you become trapped in your vehicle in flooded waters, go to the roof if water is entering the interior.

Learn more about what you can do during a flood warning at the government website. Regardless of whether you stay or leave during a flood, a major point is to make sure that you have flood insurance before the disaster occurs. If you do have to leave your home in the event of flooding, you can have peace-of-mind, knowing that your home is covered. Neptune Flood can help you with affordable coverage that is backed by one of the largest insurance markets in the world. Using the latest technology, Neptune Flood brings the cost of flood insurance down to help every American homeowner.

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Flood Tips for your Home

By | Flood Info

Knowing what to do after a flood can help make the recovery process a little easier. Even a small, local flood can be devastating for those involved. Yet, catastrophes tend to bring out the best in people as friends and neighbors help each other out.

It doesn’t take a lot of water, sometimes as little as one or two inches, to severely damage your home and belongings. The deeper the water, the more structural damage, up to and including the roof. You’ll want to begin the cleanup as soon as possible, but don’t return until the authorities allow it.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible to get information on submitting a claim and when you’ll be contacted by an adjuster. Find out what services are covered, such as professional cleanup and restoration. You’ll need a complete record of the damage for your insurance company, to apply for disaster assistance (find out if a disaster was officially declared for your area) and for a tax deduction.

Take Pictures

You’ll want to take pictures of the inside and outside of the building and damaged items before and during the cleanup. Digital pictures are best since they can be safely stored in the “cloud” and attached to your claim. When you’re resettled in your home, take pictures periodically as part of a home inventory.

You’ll Need Food, Water, Flashlights, Batteries, Household Cleaners and Bleach When You Return Home

  • If you have a well, assume the water is contaminated until you have it checked by a well or pump contractor. Many people need professional help to restart and disinfect their wells, but EPA offers a good well how-to for do-it-yourselfers.
  • If you have city water, it will be restored as soon as possible.
  • Boil water until your water is declared safe.
  • Most food left behind will be contaminated. Canned food should still be safe to eat, but don’t open the can until disinfecting the outside. Throw out damaged cans.
  • Power will be out, so you’ll need flashlights. Bring as many batteries as you can. Use ONLY battery-powered lights to avoid igniting any flammable material.
  • You’ll need a lot of heavy-duty cleaners and bleach.

Don’t Enter Your Home Until it’s Safe

  • Wait until the authorities say it’s safe to return.
  • Check for structural damage, including cracks in the foundation, walls, windows, and ceilings.
  • Look for damaged water or sewer lines.
  • Use extreme caution at all times.
  • Wear sturdy boots or shoes – cut feet are among the most common injuries.
  • Watch for snakes or other unfriendly wildlife.

Turn Off the Power

Even if the power lines are down, make sure that all power is turned off at the main circuit breaker as long as you can reach it without standing in water. Having the power unexpectedly come back on would be extremely dangerous – water and electricity are a deadly combination. Report any broken lines to the power company.

Gas lines should be turned off at the main valve or meter tank. If you smell gas, leave immediately and call the gas company.

Cleaning Up

There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that cleanup is long and hard. A broken pipe in an upstairs bathroom can cause a lot of damage, but that’s nothing compared to what a rising river or terrible storm can do.

  • First, get the OK from your insurer to begin the cleanup. Find out what resources are available to help you.
  • Open all windows to air out the building – mold is already growing and you need fresh air.
  • A non-ammonia or pine oil cleaner can be used to help control the growth of mold, followed by a bleach/water disinfectant. FEMA has more information on mold removal.
  • Shovel out contaminated mud and then hose down surfaces.
  • A sump pump and wet vac can help remove water. Water is heavy – a cubic foot weighs ten pounds.
  • Every surface must be cleaned and disinfected. Scrub with a heavy-duty cleaner and then use a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water as a disinfectant.
  • Look for anything that can’t be replaced, such as wedding photos and important documents, and try to dry to avoid further damage. Professional restoration can do a lot, but preserve what you can.
  • Remove wet carpeting, bedding, drapes, and furniture etc. If it’s been wet less than two days, it might be salvageable. Again, take plenty of before and after photos and keep samples of discarded carpet, wallpaper, drapes and other items for the adjuster.
  • Take photos of the water line on wallboard. Poke a hold in the wall at floor level to release any trapped water.
  • Check here for additional cleanup tips.

Secure Your Property

Homeowners are responsible for preventing further damage as far as possible, such as boarding up windows or covering a leaking roof with a tarp. Take photos to show what you’ve done to protect your property from further damage.

Neptune Flood offers the flood coverage you need that isn’t covered by your homeowner’s policy. You’ll benefit from: temporary living expenses, replacement costs for your furniture and other lost items, including basement contents, repair, and refill of your pool, detached structures and more. Because of Neptune’s advanced technology and insurance know-how, you’ll save money and receive higher coverage limits.

Contact Neptune Flood today for a quote in three minutes.

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Flooding Safety Tips

By | Flood Info

Safety during a flooding situation has to be your top priority. You’ll want to do all you can to protect your property, but things can always be replaced. Don’t jeopardize your own or your family’s safety by waiting too long to evacuate and being trapped. We hope these safety tips will be useful.

The National Weather Service issues three types of flood warnings:

  • Advisory: There’s a potential flooding problem, stay tuned for more information.
  • Watch: Prepare now for a possible evacuation.
  • Warning: Take action! If the floodwaters haven’t reached you yet, they will shortly. Get to higher ground immediately.

Before the Flood

What you do in advance of an emergency is critical. Here are a few tips on how to prepare.

  • Name a person who won’t be affected by the emergency to serve as the primary contact and name a meeting place in the event the family becomes separated.
  • Put together an emergency kit. Even if you have one, make sure no items are missing or need replacing.
  • Know your evacuation route. If possible, plan two evacuation routes.
  • Register with the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service for RSS feeds of forecasts and other vital information.
  • Listen to your weather radio.
  • Get the family and pets ready to leave. Pack essential items, medications, food and water for humans and pets and vital documents: insurance policies, financial statements, must-have pictures and whatever you consider extremely important.
  • Charge phones and other electronics you’re bringing with you. Don’t forget to bring your chargers with you.

Prepare Your Home

  • Filling sandbags is time-consuming but can offer valuable protection.
  • Turn off all utilities before leaving.
  • Installing check-valves in your plumbing ahead of time can prevent water from backing up into your drains.
  • Ensure your sump pump works and consider a second pump.
  • Raise everything possible.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown

Driving through water is dangerous and never recommended, but in an emergency, you might have no alternative.

Don’t Ignore Barricades

The barricades were placed there for a reason. In the best case, you’d lose precious time when you reached the reason for the barricades, such as an impassable washout, and had to turn around. In the worst case, everyone in the car could suddenly be in a deadly situation.

Standing Water is Treacherous

Take another route if the street is flooded. You don’t know how deep the water is, but only 12 inches of moving water could sweep your car away.

If You Must Drive Through Water

  • Never drive through water if you spot downed power lines – water and electricity are a deadly combination.
  • Try to figure out how deep the water is. Other cars could serve as a guide.
  • Don’t speed or stop, drive slowly and steadily.
  • Keep a constant watch for anything floating downstream that could smash into your car or trap you.
  • Your engine could stall. You may need to try to start it again, but the engine could be irreparably damaged.
  • After driving through water, test your brakes as soon as you’re on dry road while driving slowly. If the car won’t stop as it should, you can try drying your wet brakes by pressing lightly on the brake pedal while maintaining your speed.
  • If the water is rising, your car won’t start and you’re trapped, leave it immediately to reach higher ground. You may need to leave through the window. Call 911 and try to get the attention of anyone nearby.

Review Your Insurance

Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t protect you against water damage. You need a separate policy. In the past, federal policies were often the only option, but Neptune is a private insurance company backed by one of the world’s largest markets. The use of advanced technology combined with insurance know-how can save you money on the coverage you need. Federal policies have a 30-day waiting period, but Neptune only has a 10-day waiting period. Contact Neptune today and buy flood insurance in 3 minutes.

 

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Flood Warning or Flood Watch: The differences you should know

By | Flood Info

When the water is rising and you hear about “watches” or “warnings,” how worried should you be? What’s the difference between the two? How soon should you begin making preparations to safeguard your property or evacuate your family? Many people aren’t 100% sure of the best answers to those questions.

Do You Have a Weather Radio?

The National Weather Service (NWS) is responsible for alerting the public of dangerous weather conditions. You can enter your zip code or city for local weather information and learn about current conditions, hazards and forecasts.

A weather radio would be indispensable in an emergency and should be included with your emergency supplies. The information you’d need to know about local weather conditions and potential dangers is broadcast 24 hours a day from your closest NWS office.

Watch – Prepare

Watches are frequently, but not always, issued before warnings. Flash floods, for example, can occur so quickly that there might not be time to warn anyone in the path of the rushing, fast-rising water.

Normally, a “watch” means flooding is likely in your area, but it’s still possible it might not happen. You might get lucky and not be affected, but the odds aren’t in your favor. It’s time to make your emergency preparations. Every minute is precious. Use this time wisely to gather everything you’d want to bring if you evacuate and to do what you can to protect your home and belongings from water damage.

Warning – Evacuate Now

When the National Weather Service issues a “warning,” flooding is already happening or will be very, very soon. It’s dangerous to wait around to see if the waters reach your home. It’s time to evacuate your home or business.

If you wait too long, rising water could cover your evacuation route, leaving you and your family stranded. Trying to drive through moving water is very, very dangerous and the cause of many deaths. The water could be much deeper than you think it is, but even a foot or two of moving water can carry away a car.

All Floods are Not Alike

  • Slow-Onset: Days or weeks of rain can cause slow-rising floodwaters. It may take months for the waters to recede.
  • Rapid-Onset: Heavy rainfall, especially in mountains or urban areas, can cause water to rise and recede very quickly. Flash floods are a possibility and are particularly dangerous. Any low-lying area such as an underpass, viaduct, parking garage, basement or road could be submerged very quickly.
  • Tropical Storm or Hurricane: Storm surge, water pushed by strong winds, especially when combined with a rising tide, can be catastrophic. High-water levels have been recorded as high as 35 feet above normal levels. Extensive areas could be flooded. Water could rise quickly, in 4-8 hours. It may take a long time before the waters recede.

What to Do First When a Watch is Issued for Possible Flooding

  • Your Family: Talk to the family to ensure everyone knows what to expect and what they need to do.
  • Primary Contact: Establish someone who’s not local, perhaps an out-of-state relative, as the primary contact for everyone to check in with. This is especially useful if someone becomes separated.
  • Stay Informed: Listen to the TV or your weather radio for the latest updates.
  • Prepare to Evacuate: Collect important legal, insurance and other papers, medications, pictures etc. and store in waterproof bags or containers.
  • Check your Emergency Kit: Replace any supplies as needed. Well in advance of an emergency, review this list of emergency supplies and assemble your kit.
  • Know your evacuation route.
  • Shelters: Find out where the local shelters are located. If you have pets, learn which shelters allow pets and any restrictions the shelter may have (pet carriers, pet size limits, etc.).

If You Still Have Time, Safeguard Your Home and Property

FEMA publishes excellent preparedness information.

  • Elevate: Raise critical utilities, such as electrical panels, appliances and heating systems. Move furniture, drapes, area rugs etc. to a higher level.
  • Waterproof: Lay sandbags, waterproof your basement and make sure your sump pump is working. Any fuel tanks should be securely anchored.
  • Clear Debris: Secure or move inside anything outside which could float and become a danger.

Risk Management

A standard homeowner’s policy won’t protect you if you’re flooded. Don’t wait until the water’s at your door, because it will be too late. You can get a quote and buy flood insurance from Neptune in minutes. Save money and get the protection you need today.

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Flood preparation for your Home

By | Flood Info

There’s no such thing as a good disaster, but at least most floods give you a little warning. Floods are unpredictable. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program saw an estimated $9.5 billion in flood losses in 2017, but the true losses are probably much higher.

Regardless of the projections, the flood might arrive at your front door either sooner or later than anticipated. Plan on “sooner” and take advantage of every possible minute to prepare for your home flooding, especially if you and your family will have to evacuate. Keeping everyone safe is always the top priority.

Prioritize Your Preparation – Family First

Whether you plan on evacuating or not, ensure all your important items (insurance policies, birth certificates, deeds, health records, family photos, medications etc.) are safely protected in waterproof bags or containers. If you don’t have a household inventory, take detailed pictures of every room, including open drawers and cabinets. Upload the photos to cloud storage or attach them to emails sent to yourself or a friend.

In the event of a sudden evacuation, have water, food (including pet food), clothing, jewelry, phone chargers and other important personal belongings packed and ready to go. Know your evacuation route and make sure everyone knows your contact plan in case you’re separated. Make sure your car has a full gas tank and runs well.

In the event you can’t evacuate, and the flood rises higher than expected, you might have to retreat into the attic. Don’t let yourself be trapped. Bring a sledgehammer or other tool that would let you break through and get onto the roof.

Prepare Your Home for the Flood

Sump Pumps

Install sump pumps that can run either connected to your home power supply/generator or on batteries.

Waterproof Basement

Plug any drains in your basement floor. This prevents sewage backup. It will also help prevent water being removed so rapidly that the basement walls or floor are damaged from greater external water pressure. As unpleasant as the thought is, letting floodwater fill the basement could prevent structural damage to the floor and walls. Before the flood, consider getting advice from a county or city engineer.

Basement windows will break from water pressure. If home flooding is expected shortly, open or remove the windows.

Turn Off Utilities

Expect local authorities to recommend shutting off gas, electricity and water. Be sure you aren’t standing in water when shutting off electric power. If you expect floodwater to approach the electrical entrance panel, call your electric company to disconnect the home’s electricity.

Move Belongings Higher

Prepare for home flooding by moving furniture and other belongings at least 12″ higher than the expected flood level. Bring outdoor furniture in if possible.

Secure Fuel Tanks

An unsecured fuel tank is potentially very dangerous. During home flooding, the tank could tip over or float, spilling fuel that could possibly ignite. Spilled fuel is very expensive and extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to remove from a flooded house. Anchor fuel tanks securely to floor, ensuring all vents and fill line openings are either higher than the expected flood level or sealed.

Appliances

All your expensive appliances, such as the fridge, freezer, washer, dryer and others have electric motors and other components vulnerable to floodwater damage. Shut them off at the breaker panel or fuse box. If they can’t be moved higher, wrap them in large pieces of plastic, tying tightly in place. This won’t keep water out but will keep most of the silt out. Cleanup will be easier.

Furnace

Shut off power and move furnace higher if possible.

Air Conditioner

Unless your air conditioner tech advises otherwise, leave the unit in place. Freon in the unit could create a health hazard if moved inside unless moved by an a/c technician. Wrapping both inside and outside components in plastic will help reduce silt accumulation.

Water Heater

Shut off gas, electricity and water before moving water heater to a spot where it will be above the home flooding.

Porous Materials vs. Solid Wood and Stone

Pressed wood, carpets and drywall will all absorb water, may well be irreparably damaged and will be harder to remove when waterlogged. Solid wood and stone can tolerate a certain degree of home flooding.

Neptune Flood uses the same space age technology as NASA and the U.S. government to generate today’s most accurate digital land surveys. These super-accurate flood zone maps, combined with advanced technology, could save you money, up to 25%, on flood insurance. Not only that, Neptune’s technology means you can buy flood insurance in 3 minutes or less.

Don’t wait too long to protect your home with flood insurance. Most insurers require a 30-day waiting period for your new flood insurance. Neptune Flood offers a reduced 10 day waiting period, a definite advantage if you’re nervously watching the weather reports. Neptune Flood also offers higher limits of coverage.

Learn more about flood insurance and get a quote from Neptune Flood today.