Skip to main content

Prepping Your Property for Floods

By November 17, 2021March 11th, 2024Business Insurance, Insurance, Personal Insurance

How to be safe when it rains—driving tips, home prep, and work precautions

Blog - Are You Ready For Flooding Question Over Top of Collage of Driving Through Rivers, Standing in a Flooded Street, and a Flooded Road Then Small Text Saying We Have Safety Tips at the Bottom

Pictures courtesy of our teammate, Megan Mazingo. Her neighborhood is currently experiencing heavy flooding. Pictured is her truck, her husband in almost knee-high water as he is out helping their neighbors, and their neighborhood street. As of November 15, 2021, more than 20 houses in her area have experienced water damage and the rain keeps coming. “All these people are going to be thankful for their flood policies today,” said Megan.

 

Heavy rain is nothing new for Washington and other parts of the United States during fall and winter. We have been having monsoon weather for the last few days. And, despite that many of us have been around rain our entire lives, we still encounter some unsafe actions from other drivers when we are on the road, and we can blank out ourselves on how to best get our home and business ready to ward off flooding and unsafe walking conditions.

Traffic, long commutes, and hills can lead to accidents even on sunny days—add water accumulation, darker weather, and chance of ice, and you have higher risk while you are on the road, at home, and at your business.

Car Safety Tips for When It Floods:

 

Pack emergency items in your car

1. Emergency roadside kit

2. Water and nonperishable snack foods

3. Flashlight

4. Spare tire

5. Car jack

6. Extra tire bolts

7. Jumper cables

8. Fluids—antifreeze, oil, windshield wiper fluid, etc.

9. Extra windshield wiper blades

10. Basic toolbox essentials—wrenches; sockets; screwdriver; fuses; extra bulbs for things like brake lights, headlights, and turn signals; etc.

11. Cellphone and cellphone charger

12. Glass window breaker

13. Seatbelt cutter

Be aware

1. Be alert of your surroundings.

2. Keep in touch with local weather forecasts and news updates.

3. Pay attention to roadblocks in the city and warning signs on the interstate.

4. Frequently check the status of your neighborhood and the places that you are parking your car. Is water accumulating? Can you move your car to higher ground?

Know the dangers of different water levels

1. It doesn’t take a high amount of water to be dangerous according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a defensive driving school called I Drive Safely.

2. 2 feet of water does not sound like much when you are dipping your feet in a kiddy pool. However, 2 feet of rushing water can be enough to carry most vehicles away—even big ones like trucks, vans, and SUVs.

3. Many vehicles can float in 1 foot of water.

4. About 2 inches of water can make you lose control of your car—no matter what speed.

5. 6 inches of water can hit the bottom of most cars. Standing water can ruin most cars—making them stall to the point of permanent engine damage. If this happens while you are driving, you can get into a serious car accident.

What to do if you lose control of your car in the rain:

1. DO NOT slam on your brakes or gas.

2. Ease your foot off of the gas pedal like you do when you are making your way to a stop sign.

3. Steer your car to the desired direction like you do when you are coming up to a windy turn—again, ease into it and do not jerk abruptly.

4. If you have regular brakes, use general pumps.

5. If you have anti-lock brakes, keep a steady pressure on the pedal.

6. Also, look up the recommendations for your specific make, model, and year. Many manufacturers or experts have noted safety precautions for your specific vehicle. Weight, size, etc. impacts what to do and not to do.

Avoid…

1. Standing water. Do not drive in it. Potholes and dips are hard to see in it. And, like mentioned, your car could lose control, flood, and/or float. If you have to drive in standing water…

  • Drive slow and steady
  • Keep an eye out for items floating in the water
  • Drive in the center of the road if you can safely do so
  • Drive with other cars so that you are not splashing one another
  • Test your brakes after you get out of the water. You may have to pump them to try and dry them and make sure that they are working like they are supposed to.
  • If you get stuck and water is rising, abandon your car and go to higher ground. If your door will not open, roll down the window. Call 911 if you cannot safely get out.

2. Any and all puddles if you can. Puddles can easily jerk your steering and can make you hydroplane.

  • If you have to drive through one, slow down beforehand and firmly grip the wheel as you drive at a steady and slow pace. Do not hit your brakes or gas abruptly—ease into it.

3. Bridges if you can, especially smaller ones that are in more rural areas.

4. Fallen powerlines. Remember: electricity flows through water very well.

5. Breaking when you shouldn’t. Breaking at the wrong moments can cause you to skid out of control.

6. Cruise control. Do not use it during the rain or when water is on the roads, including puddles. Cruise control can cause your car to accelerate when it hits water. Also, cruise control is disengaged by braking, so it can make you break when you shouldn’t.

7. Sometimes you just need to avoid driving altogether. If you think it is not safe, don’t drive.

Have a mechanic look at your car ASAP if it was involved with a flood.

1. AAA also recommends that you speak to your insurance agent about your coverage before the mechanic inspects your car since significant damage can cost you out of pocket if you do not have a comprehensive auto insurance policy.

 

Ways to Help Protect Your Home and Business from Floods:

 

Inspect the different areas of your property regularly

1. Before the rain. Keep an eye out for weather forecasts. If a heavy rain is coming, inspect and see what needs to be done.

2. During rain if it is safe to do so. Check all areas as often as you can and see what needs to be done.

3. After the rain if you can safely do so. What damages happened and what needs to be done?

Is your house/business sealed adequately?

1. Ensure that all your windows and doors have good seals on them.

2. Make sure that your roof is not leaking.

Do you need to create some sort of barricade?

1. For example, do you need to add sandbags to different areas of your property to help keep water out? Perhaps flood bags will also help you? Lowes has steps and a video on how to use sandbags and flood bags here.

Do cars on your property need to avoid certain areas or move to higher ground?

1. Can they go in your garage?

2. If you do not have higher ground on your property, do your neighbors? Asking your neighbors for temporary help might be a good idea if they agree and you can safely maneuver your car.

Are the storm drains clogged?

1. Sometimes debris like falling leaves and garbage can block drains.

2. You can call water company to report clogged drains so that it can be fixed ASAP.

3. Seattle has storm drain and flooding tips on their government website here.

During storms and flooding, it is recommended that you…

1. Keep updated on local weather and news stations.

2. Determine if you need to unplug appliances and turn off power, gas, and/or water in your building. Local electricity, gas, and water authorities can help you determine what is best for you to do.

3. Have flashlights ready to use. Also have plenty of backup batteries.

4. Avoid using toilets and water faucets until you have determined that you have no clogging or water line damage. Call a plumber if you need professional advice or help.

5. If you experience a flood in your home/building

  • Throw away food and drink that have been in the flood area unless it is sealed airtight.
  • Clean and disinfect everything—floors, walls, storage areas, items, etc.
  • Pump out flooded areas gradually. It is best to consult a professional on this matter.
  • Document any damages—pictures and videos can really help with this. Documenting preventative measures can also be beneficial in the claims process.

If you own a business…

1. Do you need to close for the day?

2. Do you need to close a certain spot in your parking lot?

3. How can you make it safe to walk outside your building and inside your building?

  • Has debris been cleaned up so there are less chance of trips, slips, and falls?
  • Are the matts by your door working to dry feet so no one slips? Do they need to be replaced with dry matts every so often?
  • Do you have adequate lighting so that people are maneuver safely?

More tips:

1. Read our blog post, How to Protect Your Property When It Floods

2. Follow us on Pinterest for more tips! We add new ones often, and we save tips from other reputable sources.

3. CDC’s Flood Safety Tips (available in Spanish as well!)

4. US New’s How to prevent a Flooded Home blog

5. The Spruce has steps on how to wash contaminated items after a flood

6. Tips on how to prevent flood damage from Suburbia Unwrapped

7. Also, check out website tips from businesses in your area

  • News stations
  • Official city websites
  • State government websites
  • Local professionals like plumbers, repair shops, etc.

 

Flood Insurance Can Help You When the Inevitable Happens

 

1. Ask yourself questions to help determine if you need flood insurance for your home, car, and/or business:

  • Am I in or near a flood zone?
  • Is there a river or some other body of water nearby that could flood with heavy rain?
  • Are the hills around me working or not working in my favor? (i.e., Am I at the bottom of a hill, and gravity will direct water towards me? Or am I at the top of a hill/incline and gravity will instead help water direct away from me?)
  • Do I have a lot of flat land where water and settle and accumulate? Is the soil around me absorbent?
  • Has my property ever flooded while I lived here? Has there been any reports that say it has flooded prior to me moving in?
  • Have any of my neighbors had issues with flooding? Or do any of the neighborhoods relatively close to me prone to flooding issues?
  • Are the drains around me plentiful and efficient? (Are they prone to clogging? Are they known to not be able to keep up with the typical rain each year? How does the local water department in charge of the drains react to general maintenance and flooding?)
  • Do I tend to drive in areas that are prone to flooding?
  • Does my auto insurance cover flood damage?

2. If you have questions, we will do our best to provide you with answers!

  • You can give us a call or text us at 425-320-4280
  • On the righthand side of your screen there is our chat feature.
  • You can also fill out our get a quote form.
  • Email is also an option!
Skip to content