Flood Insurance: A Wise Investment
For those residents living near the Little Calumet River, Thorn Creek, or one of the ditches in the Village, flood insurance is highly recommended. Even if the last storm or flood missed you or you have done some flood proofing, the next flood could be worse. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover a property for flood damage.
The Village of South Holland participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Local insurance agents can sell a flood insurance policy under rules and rates set by the federal government. Any agent can sell a policy and all agents must charge the same rates. Now is a good time to purchase flood insurance in South Holland. Due to South Holland’s CRS rating (5), homeowners realize a 25 percent discount from standard flood insurance premiums.
Any house can be covered by a flood insurance policy. Detached garages and accessory buildings are covered under the policy for the lot’s main building. Separate coverage can be obtained for the building’s structure and for its contents (except for money, valuable papers, and the like). The structure generally includes everything that stays with a house when it is sold, including the furnace, cabinets, built-in appliances, and wall-to-wall carpeting.
There is no coverage for things outside the house, like the driveway and landscaping. Renters can purchase contents coverage, even if the owner does not buy structural coverage on the building.
Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that happens in South Holland, there is usually more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure.
Several insurance companies have sump pump failure or sewer backup coverage that can be added to a homeowners insurance policy. Each company has different amounts of coverage, exclusions, deductibles, and arrangements. Most are riders that cost extra. Most exclude damage from surface flooding that would be covered by an NFIP policy. The cost varies from nothing up to about $75 for a rider on your homeowners insurance premium.
Floodproofing Your Home
Floodproofing a house means altering it so floodwaters will not cause damage. Different floodproofing techniques are appropriate for different types of buildings.
Use the following as a guideline:
- If you have a basement, split level, or other floor below ground level, get a free copy of Guide to Basement Flooding from the Village Hall. There are lots of ways to protect your basement or lower floor from seepage and sewer backup.
- If your house is on a slab foundation, investigate a low floodwall, berm, or “dry floodproofing” (i.e., making the walls watertight and closing all the openings when a flood comes).
- If your house is on a crawlspace, a low floodwall, berm or “wet floodproofing” will work. “Wet floodproofing” means moving all items subject to damage out of harm’s way so water can flow into the crawlspace and not cause any problems. If floodwaters go over the first floor, it is relatively easy to elevate the building to get the first floor above the flood level.
Village Flood Services
The Code Enforcement office at 16240 Wausau (708-210-2915) provides the following:
- Information on whether a property is in a mapped floodplain and related flood insurance rate map data
- Records of past flooding
- Advice on how to protect a building from water problems
- Guidance on the laws that govern construction and property improvements
- Site visits to view the cause and possible solutions to a problem
Get a free copy of Guide to Flood Protection from Village Hall. Additional information on these measures is available at the Public Library. Brian Smith, the Village’s Flood Assistance Coordinator can also explain these flood protection measures in more detail.
Don’t Wait to Get Insured
Don’t wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rebates and coverage or see http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/file_your_claim.jsp?cid=fileclaim