If you own a property in the Sunshine State, prepare for a flood. The state sees around 60 inches of rainfall a year, so flood isn’t a rare occurrence for South Floridians. Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take to protect your property from the Florida floods. These tips are useful for property owners who live overseas, or who visit their vacation home once or twice per year.
Whether you’re a homeowner or rental property owner, you can protect your Florida home from floods with these tried and tested tips.
#1 Get the Gutters Ready
Prepare your gutters by getting rid of debris that could obstruct the flow of water. This will prevent the rainwater from overflowing in your gutters, which can cause property damage including mold growth. Also, be sure to angle the gutter away from the house so that it doesn’t seep into the building. Your goal should be to redirect the water as far away from the house as possible.
Be careful! Do not attempt to get the gutters ready by yourself if they’re at a dangerously high height. Delegate this task to a South Florida property management firm so you don’t put yourself at risk.
#2 Repair the Roof
Is your roof ready for the rain? Homeowners tend to forget to inspect their roof, but it should be done at least two times per year. That way, you can conduct repairs, replacements, and more while there’s still time. Don’t forget to inspect the roof before the flood to stop the rainwater from seeping into your property. There might be missing shingles or moss due to the neglect, or worse – unwelcome critters that have “moved into” your home.
You can self-check your roof but it would be better to ask a professional to do it for you. Be prepared to spend about $400 on minor repairs. This, of course, can be offset from your homeowner’s insurance.
#3 Seal the Windows and Doors
Over time, your window’s caulk will need to be recaulked. In general, caulking is long-lasting, but only if your contractor used silicone caulk that’s waterproof, shrink-proof, and the like. You need to caulk your windows as the wind may be so strong that it’ll blow the rain towards your windows. In this situation, the rain will likely seep into the property unless the windows, doors, etc. are sealed.
#4 Check the Sump Pump
A sump pump is designed to get rid of water that has made its way into the crawlspace. If the sump pump isn’t well-maintained, it won’t be able to draw the water out of the basement. If the flood is so intense, the water will stay there and you’ll need to dry it (and the furniture) yourself. This can be a time-consuming task, so make sure to check if the sump pump is in working order.
If your house doesn’t have a sump pump installed, invest in one. A sump pump costs around $200, but you’ll need to pay $100 to $200 on top of that for a professional to install it. If your property is being managed by a property management company, they should have a network of vetted vendors that can do the work for a fraction of the price.
#5 Transfer the Furniture to a Safe Area
If there’s a flood warning, don’t waste a single second – you need to get your furniture to a safe place ASAP. A flood warning means that there’s going to be a flood soon, so be sure to act fast. Transfer your furniture from your basement to the upper floors, or to where the floodwaters won’t be able to get to them. Be sure to store your valuables in a waterproof container.
It’s important to note that you should only do this step if there’s still time to transfer your furniture to a safe place. If the floodwaters are rising, forget the furniture. Your safety or your family’s safety should be your primary responsibility.
#6 Get Flood Insurance
Your standard homeowner’s insurance does not safeguard your property against flooding. Since it isn’t a covered peril, in case your house is damaged due to the flood, you’ll have to cover the repair and replacement costs yourself. This is particularly true for properties that are in flood-prone states such as Florida.
For that reason, you should purchase flood insurance to protect your property from seasonal rain. It’s an extra expense, but paying for repairs out of pocket will likely be more expensive.
What to Do If Your House Is Flooded
Sometimes, there’s no time to prepare for a flood – particularly a flash flood. Here’s what homeowners can do to protect their properties if their homes are already flooded:
- Get Out of the Water. Do not wade in the dirty water. Make sure to wash your skin if you come into contact with the floodwater so you don’t put yourself at risk of water-borne diseases like cholera and leptospirosis.
- Shut Off the Power. Don’t forget to turn off the main fuse so you don’t get electrocuted. If you need to wade in floodwater to get to the fuse, ignore this step. Stay where you are as you wait for the rescuers.
- Move Things Out of the Water. Again, only do this if it’s safe to do so. If you leave your belongings in standing water, they’ll get more damaged over time. Try to save the important items, and transfer them to a safe place such as your friend’s house.
There is also landlord responsibility for flood damage in rental property.
The Best Way to Protect Your Property From Floods
If you live overseas and you don’t have anyone who can prepare your property for the seasonal floods, partner with a property management firm. At Luxury Property Care, our team of experts will be on-site to brace your home for the flood. We won’t wait for the flood warning – as long as we know that rain is coming, we’ll get to work. Our role is to protect your property from floods and other natural disasters.