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The Plumber's Wife Blog is your source for Park's Plumbing and Sewer News, Specials, and information about Flood Control Systems.

Do's & Don'ts during a Flood

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Please read below for some tips of what to do and what not to do during a flood event or a torrential downpour.

  1. Stay tuned in to any local news stations or radio stations and follow any instructions that are given. 
  2. Sign up for any emergency alert systems your local area offers. Nowadays, most areas can notify you via text or email to alert you of any severe weather conditions that are headed your way.
  3. Majority of the time when we are experiencing severe weather, we also have to worry about power outages. Make sure to keep extra batteries handy for flash lights and battery operated radios. 
  4. Make sure cell phones are charged or invest in a portable charger.
  5. Electrocution is also a very serious matter to keep in mind during a flood event, current passes very easily through water. Avoid any downed power lines or electrical wires
  6. Stay indoors if possible but also be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice.
  7. Avoid walking through flowing water. Six inches of moving water can knock the average person off their feet.
  8. Avoid driving if possible; six inches of water can also reach up to the bottom of most passenger cars, this can cause stalling or loss of control.
  9. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where your car has stalled in a flooded area, evacuate immediately or as soon as you can. Floodwaters can rise at a rapid rate or even sweep your car away.
  • * some of these tips were found in the Northbrook Newsletter.

Lenders to collect flood insurance premiums

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Below is a great article that was found in the Chicago Tribune (3/8/15)  by Lew Sichelman (United Feature Syndicate).

Starting January 2016, lenders will be required to collect escrow funds from borrowers who have flood insurance, just like they do for property taxes and hazard insurance.

Though the proposed rules won't take effect until almost a year from now, it won't hurt borrowers to start getting familiar with them so they won't be shocked when their house payments go up Jan, 1.

Under the rule, which is subject to a few changes, regulated lending institutions must escrow premiums and fees for flood coverage on loans secured by residential properties starting next year. Besides new mortgages made after that date, the rule also would apply to older loans that are increased, extended or renewed.

Also, come the first of the year, borrowers already on the books must be given the options of escrowing their flood insurance premiums if they so desire.

In a key change from previous proposals, the rule would eliminate the requirement that would have forced borrowers to obtain coverage for a structure that is a part of a residential property in a special flood hazard area if that structure is detached from the house and does not also serve as a residence. But lenders can require insurance on the detached structures if they determine that it is necessary to protect the collateral securing the mortgage.

After several false starts, the latest federal edict on escrowing for flood coverage was issued late last year by five regulatory agencies: the Federal Reserve Board, Farm Credit Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., National Credit Union Administration and the Comptroller of the Currency. 

The rules implement changes required by last year's Homeowner Flood Insurance Act, which itself amended the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012.

Great Article from the Tribune about Home Insurance.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sewer backups are not automatically covered by all homeowner insurance policies.

Water everywhere, but no insurance coverage.

Q: Last month we had some water damage in one of our units. The floors were ruined, caused by a backup in a sewer pipe. Our insurance company is giving us a hard time. Isn't this just the sort of thing that insurance is supposed to pay for?

A: Most people would indeed conclude that damage caused by a back up would be covered by one's property insurance. But , unfortunately for you, your problem is probably not covered.

Most policies cover damage caused by the sudden and accidental discharge of water that comes out of a pressurized plumbing system (the parts of the pipes that delivers water to the faucets, toilets and appliances). Damage from water that backs up from the street sewer, through unpressurized lines designed to take water away from the house is generally not covered.

In fact, the exclusion covers not just street sewer obstructions, but also water that enters a home through a backup in any water to the sewer. The reason is two-fold: The insurance company is not in the business of insuring the city against the consequences of it's poorly maintained sewer lines. And your clogged drains are considered a maintenance problem, not a "sudden and accidental" event.

This neat division between water delivered to the house versus water taken away from the house can however, be sorely tested, depending on what happened and what your policy says.

A California court recently faced this question: The homeowner's toilet continued to "run" because the fill valve was stuck in the open position, but the bowl overflowed instead of draining because of a clogged sewer line 40 feet away. The policy excluded damage caused by water that "backs up or overflows from a clogged sewer or drain." The homeowner claimed that the exclusion did not apply, because the water flowed directly from the toilet bowl, never entering the drain. But the court focused on the word "overflows," and applied the exclusion, to the dismay of the homeowner.

Other courts, facing the same set of facts but dealing with a policy that omitted the word "overflows," have concluded that because the water never entered the drainage system, it could not back up. In these cases, the homeowner was covered.

Here's another wrinkle: If your policy excludes water that backs up through a drain rather than from it, would insurance cover, given the fact of the California case?

Arguably, water that never gets into the drain, as in the California case, cannot be said to have backed up through it, so the exclusion would not apply.

The lesson here is to not despair of the value of insurance. Most of the time, steady and proper maintenance will forestall most plumbing problems. That's where you should focus your attention.