Being based in the Midwest means that we don’t experience natural disasters that ravage the coast, such as hurricanes and intense ocean storms that cause major flooding. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own share of natural disasters, such as tornadoes and river flooding. Sadly enough, our neighbors to the south have recently experienced unfathomably tragic flooding in New Orleans, after experiencing Katrina in August of 2005.
Louisiana Flood of 2016
In August of 2016, Louisiana flooded due to what many news anchors and meteorologists dubbed to be a ‘1000-year’ rainfall. Sadly enough, many of the areas impacted most by the floodwaters weren’t deemed to be ‘high risk’ areas, and as a result, a lot of homeowners in these types of areas failed to procure homeowners insurance policies with adequate (if any) flood coverage.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, only about 21% (roughly one fifth) of all buildings in Louisiana are insured for flood damage. But in some smaller communities like St. Helena Parish, less than one percent had flood coverage. The flooding was so disastrous that many depended on local and governmental aid for emergency evacuations and rescue.
Some homes were nearly completely submerged, and ruined automobiles lay abandoned throughout flooded roadways and parking lots. Horrifically, residents even had to anchor coffins to trees to prevent the floodwaters from sweeping them out of the graveyards. Thought only a rough approximation, the governor has made a statement that estimated the total costs to be around 8.7 billion dollars. Altogether, this was the largest and most destructive event for the state since Katrina, which also left many residents without a place to live.
Key Lessons Learned from the Flood
Unfortunately, this flood wasn’t avoidable for the residents of New Orleans – they were simply caught in mother nature’s cross-hairs. The sad truth is that there isn’t anything we can do to control when and where a catastrophic weather event will take place. In fact, Missouri was ranked as the fifth state with the most home insurance claims related to flooding in 2015, and floods are the #1 disaster in the US.
Though we can’t control weather, there is one thing we can do. We can certainly prepare for the worst to help mitigate damage to our homes and lessen dangers and threats posed to our families. In addition, you need to make sure your homeowners insurance policy covers flood damage. Most people just assume that they are covered for damage caused by floodwaters. But many insurance policies typically make clear distinctions about water damage caused by a leaky pipe versus a flooding event.
In addition to ensuring your insurance policy will protect your home, there are a myriad of things you can do before the storm hits to decrease the affect of the flooding on your home. For instance, anchoring possessions, shutting of utilities, and preparing your basement can all limit the amount of harm inflicted upon on your house.
Though we live in the Midwest, we are not exempt from flood and water damage. If you have experienced water damage in your house or commercial space for any reason (floods, broken pipes, etc.), don’t wait to reach out for help. Procrastinating only makes the problem worse by giving mold a chance to grow.