Homeowner headaches: Protecting your basement from water damage

Melting snow, rain showers, and warmer weather, oh my! The signs of spring are a welcome sight... until all that extra water winds up in your basement. 

Basements are especially prone to water damage and it's estimated that 98% of basements in the U.S. will suffer from some type of water damage during their lifetime. If it happens to your home or commercial building, you could face large repair costs or a decline in indoor air quality associated with mold and mildew. 

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What can you do to protect your home and keep your basement dry?

The first step is to understand the difference between flooding and water backup. Then, make sure you know what's covered by your insurance policy. 

Damage from water backup typically is included on your homeowner's policy. water backup occurs when water or water-borne materials back up into your home. This can come from sewers, drains, a sump pump, or related equipment. Most homeowner's policies don't cover flood damage. Flooding occurs when water enters a home through windows, doors, window wells, or cracks in the foundation. This can be caused by an overflow of rivers or lakes, melting snow, or even excessive rainfall. If you live in a flood zone or have concerns about flood damage, contact your independent insurance agent to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage. 

To prevent water damage in your home: 

  • Test your sump pump to make sure it is working correctly. Install a battery powered back up in case of a power outage and use an alarm system to detect water in your basement.  
  • Check your foundation for leaks by looking for cracks, moist drywall or water spots. 
  • Seal your windows and make sure doorways are fitted tight to the frame. 
  • Keep your gutters clear of debris, direct downspouts away from the house, and make sure the landscaping around your home is sloped so any water will flow away from the foundation. 
  • Store your items in plastic containers in the basement, and keep them at least one foot off the ground if possible. 

Whether your home is threatened by flooding or water backup this spring, take these precautions so you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the season without the worry of water damage.