No matter where you own property in this country, seasonal storms are a fact of life. So, too, is unexpected flooding. Flooding can and does occur in every state in the nation; even the driest climates are not immune. And when disaster strikes, even a few inches of flood water can cause extensive damage to your rental home.
As rental property owners, it’s important to inform your residents about the basics of flood preparedness and to make sure they have the tools they need to stay safe and dry until the water recedes. One of the best places to start is by looking up the flood risk for each of your rental properties. You can check your flood risk at the Floodsmart.gov website simply by typing in your rental home’s address.
Another resource that you can share with your residents is this comprehensive guide to flood preparation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This guide covers everything from flooding statistics and weather warning signs to emergency preparedness. With a little advance information, your resident will be able to stay safe and to help protect your investment property from the worst.
You can also help by giving other important information to your resident. For example, when you get a flood warning, make sure that your resident knows where they can obtain sandbags and how to use them properly. In most places, local fire stations and sometimes city facility buildings will offer free sandbags to the public prior to a major storm. Check on the city website to find the exact locations. In many of these locations, citizens can either fill their own sandbags or take pre-filled bags to use around their homes. As a landlord, you should instruct and encourage your residents to do the same.
Finally, as a property owner, it is important that you and your residents have the right kind of insurance to cover any flood damage that may occur. Typically, regular homeowner’s, landlord’s, or renter’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. In most cases, you’ll need to purchase additional coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood insurance will cover many different kinds of flood-related damage. But according to FEMA, both the cause of the flooding and the type of damage incurred will determine whether your rental home and its contents are covered or not. Flood insurance comes in two main types: building coverage and contents coverage. Building coverage only covers the structure itself and anything attached to it. This is a must for property owners.
On the other hand, it’s a good idea to encourage your residents to purchase flood insurance for their personal property as well, which would be content coverage. It’s important to note that neither type of coverage will insure vehicles, cash, or precious metals, so if these items are present on the property, steps should be taken to obtain secure storage and/or separate insurance for them.
At Real Property Management, we can help you and your resident prepare for disaster. We have the information and tools you need to help you choose proper insurance coverage, protect your real estate investments, and keep your residents informed. Would you like more information? Please contact your nearest Real Property Management office.