The Great Flood Part One

Naturally, it was about 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday when I discovered our basement was flooding. Can someone please explain to me why floods never happen between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday?

The float on our sump pump decided to go on strike, so the pump failed to kick on after two days of heavy rain. The result? Water backed up into our finished basement. As my wife and I began cleaning things up, I uttered those famous words, “Don’t worry honey, our insurance will cover it!”

Boy was I wrong. My agent with Country Insurance told us we did not have “sump pump coverage.” I’ve never even heard of it. In fact, I quickly called 10 people, including builders and other real estate agents, and they’d never heard of it either. Turns out sump pump coverage is an additional option I needed to purchase. I later learned that many insurance companies will not cover damage from water coming into your home from the outside. They’ll only foot the bill for pipes bursting inside the house. So if a heavy rain brings water in through a sump pit or window well, most likely you’re out of luck.

What’s my point? I strongly recommend you assess your liability on this front first thing Monday morning. First, call your insurance agent and find out if you’re covered in the event your sump pump fails. If you’re not, add sump pump coverage. Or it may be necessary to add flood insurance. Another option: Go to Home Depot Lowes Or ACE and buy a $10 moisture alarm. Set it next to your sump pump. If it detects even 1/32nd of an inch of moisture, a 110-decibel alarm will sound that can be heard four floors away, can ring for three days and all on a 9-volt battery that lasts five years. Believe me, it’s worth the effort. Knowing about these options could have saved us thousands.

Next week we’ll take a look at the other problem in this story – the insurance industry.

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