Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring snowmelt, rain will increase chance of floods, landslides

According to FEMA Region X, most watersheds in Washington are near their average snowpack levels for this time of year. That’s a good thing for the upcoming wildfire season, which started strong this week with 50 fires -- 49 of them in Western Washington, according to Washington State Department of Natural Resources. However, the strong snowpack also increases the risk of flooding as snow melts and spring rain begins.

Snowpack map from USDA/NRCS 

Regions that experienced wildfires in the last three years are especially susceptible to flooding. If you live in one of those areas, you should be alert for flood warnings and you should look into flood insurance. Just one inch of water in the average home can cause more $25,000 in damage. 

Many agents and brokers offer flood insurance policies available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers protection against flood hazards for homeowners, business owners, condo owners and renters. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance policy takes effect.

Excess water can also cause landslides, which are not covered by homeowner or flood insurance. You will need what’s called a “difference in conditions policy” to be covered for a landslide. You can ask your agent or broker about purchasing a difference in conditions policy. Read more about landslide insurance.

Find more information about floods and homeowner’s insurance, including tips for protecting your home and belongings. We also have tips for filing a claim after a natural disaster and how to find disaster resources.