Checking your home insurance before spring floods

Your Money Matters

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety is urging homeowners to talk to their insurance agents now about flood insurance. With ground water levels already high, the state is expecting to see more flooding this year.

Record rainfall over the past several years has many homeowners in South Dakota experiencing water issues for the first time.

“We had a customer last year that experienced flooding and they were close to downtown Sioux Falls, they were nowhere near the river, nowhere near any water, but with all of the snow melt that came and the rain that came on top of it, their entire basement collapsed,” Daniel Pickering with Allstate insurance in Sioux Falls said.

It’s damage a standard homeowners policy won’t cover–no matter where the water came from.

“It would eventually fill the window well, break the glass,” Jerry Berg, the owner of INTEK Cleaning & Restoration said of the March 2019 flooding.

There are two kinds of insurance add-ons home owners can get to protect their home, but where the water comes from matters.

“Flood insurance is one of those things probably right now I would encourage everyone to look into, whether you’re in a flood zone or not because everybody as long as it rains, you can be affected by flood waters,” Pickering said.

Flood insurance covers structural issues from water that comes from outside the home.

“Today is a good day to get started, you have about a 30 day window where a lot of flood polices wont even protect you for the first 30 days,” Pickering said.

INTEK Cleaning and Restoration says last spring’s record rainfall brought far more water back up issues.

“When it comes to water in your basement, the main coverage you want to look at is called back up sewer and drain, that’s going to cover you if your sump pump either fails or can’t keep up,” Sioux Falls State Farm Agent Ryan Reiner said.

Reiner says the average back up sewer and water claim is about $7,000, covering flooring, dry wall, baseboards, personal property and other water restoration.

“If you get it early the costs are minimal,” Berg said.

But both Intek and insurance companies say the best option is to work to prevent water in the first place.

“Most of this stuff can be avoided by proper care and technique of the home,” Pickering said.

Insurance professionals suggest speaking with your own agent to go over your homeowner’s policy and what it would take to add back up sewer and drain or flood insurance to your property now– once the flooding starts, its too late to add coverage.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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