Q: What time is it when an ark floats by your house?
A: Time to call your insurance agent.
Ha ha! Hysterical, right? We insurance agents have millions of those gems. I usually save them for clients. When they realize I’m prepared to tell every, single joke I know until they buy life insurance, even the toughest clients cave in and sign on the dotted line. But there’s no time for that today.
Today I’m reporting live from the shores of Great Cat Pee Lake, in the area formerly known as my basement.
We’ve had a little rain around here.
And by a little rain I mean we’ve got water, water everywhere, and nary an end in sight.
My house is nestled in the side of a hill. Rainwater tends to roll down that hill in a straight path, not noticing that our house is in the way. Rainwater drops right in through the invisible, gaping holes we seem to have in our foundation in a torrent of seepage. You might think that is an oxymoron, but it isn’t. Trust me. At the height of the deluge we had a pump running constantly for 6 hours. Now we just have to turn it on every hour or so to keep up with the fresh seepage.
As you may know, our cat, Beeby, spends much of her time in the basement due to a tendency toward indiscriminate peeing and gacking. When you add a couple of inches of water to the gack/pee residue it makes cleanup even more fun.
Lot’s of people have it worse as much of this area is under water. We’re bracing for more flooding as the water rolls on down from Chicago, and there ain’t nobody happy about it.
I’ve spent the last 2 days alternating between answering frantic calls from waterlogged clients (threatening to rip my head from my shoulders if their claims are not covered) and bailing out my own home. But I’m never too busy for you. Let me take a few moments out of my hectic schedule to share some valuable, insurance tips.
Listen up, people:
1) Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover floods.
2) The federal government provides flood insurance, although policies may be issued and serviced by individual companies.
3) Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover backup of sewers and drains, either, although many preferred homeowners policies include some ($5,000 is a common amount.) Many companies let you add this coverage.
4) Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover seepage.
5) You can’t buy flood or backup coverage once the monsoon hits. In fact, flood policies generally have a 30-day waiting period.
Obviously, individual policies and states will vary greatly, but the basic principles hold true for most property insurance, personal and commercial.
Here’s the bottom line: if you want someone to pay you when water from outside gets inside, do something to make that happen. You can’t assume it’s covered; in fact, it’s probably not.
What can you do?
-Get yourself a good, local insurance agent. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think either Flo or that lizard is going to be available to take your call at 10 on a Friday night when your sump pump dies and the basement is filling up fast.
-Take some time with that agent to find out what kind of coverage you have, and what kind you need. Do this BEFORE you need what you don’t have.
You don’t have to take my advice. You can always go with…
-Get yourself a good, sturdy rowboat and a couple of oars. Need a Boatowners Policy to cover that?
I’ll leave you with a little ditty I learned at Girl Scout camp. This song has come in handy many times over the years to simultaneously awaken and annoy my kids. (this version courtesy of Aby Guevarra·)