As we approach the one year anniversary of the “Great Metro-Detroit Flood” (as I not-so-affectionately call it), I thought I would share with you my own personal experience with water backup. Here is a photo of my very own basement on August 11, 2014. What you see there is the receding raw sewage that came erupting from the drains and toilet in my basement. As you can imagine, I was not a happy camper. The water came up with such force it knocked over things that were so heavy I couldn’t have even lifted them myself. It sent storage items tumbling and even left my deep freezer floating in a lake of human waste as you also see in the photo. It was literally a disaster, and there was nothing I could do about it.
But not technically nothing. There was one thing I could do, and that was file an insurance claim. Being an insurance agent myself, I knew I had water backup coverage and I knew the limit in which I was covered for. Having lost a lot of irreplaceable items combined with the dreadful anticipation of the work that was about to be cast upon me, this was able to provide me with some relief. The idea that I would be covered monetarily for the repairs to my basement as well my damaged personal property lessened the blow of what was happening before my eyes.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of my friends who were not covered, or inadequately covered. You see, water backup coverage is not something that is automatically included in most homeowner’s policies. Generally, this is something you need to ask your agent to endorse onto your policy. Most companies offer limits anywhere from $2,500-$25,000 and in most cases your deductible will apply at the time of a loss, although, a lot of companies will waive the deductible if your damages meet or exceed your chosen limit.
Had I not had this coverage, I would’ve been broken. I don’t know what I would’ve done. I’m lucky that I know the importance of this coverage and work for an agency that has made it our standard to offer it to all of our clients and express the importance of it to them. This is not FLOOD insurance. Most people do not have flood insurance unless they live in a flood zone, and flood insurance only covers waters that enter your home through the foundation or walls. Water that comes up from drains will only be covered under the water backup endorsement.
With all the rain we’ve had this year and with the ever present potential for more, please do yourself a favor and check with your insurance agent to make sure you have this oh-so-important coverage. It is very inexpensive and you will thank yourself in the long run if you ever have to face the devastation that I had to almost a year ago. Thankfully, everything in my basement has been fixed and I might even go so far to say it’s nicer now than it ever has been. But I was lucky…and others were not. Don’t let yourself be the unlucky one!
Meredith Ferry, Account Sales Executive