I cringe a little when a client calls to say they just spent a bundle of money refinishing a basement. The story often involves wall to wall carpeting, custom cabinets, special lighting, high end entertainment components - the works.
I just know I will get another call from them after ground water rises and ruins everything.
Damage caused by ground water seeping into your home or through the doorways is typically not covered on a homeowner policy. There may not be coverage on a flood policy either, unless it is a true flood event.
To minimize your loss and disappointment, think twice before re-finishing a basement unless you are very certain it will remain dry.
If you decide to go ahead with the work, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety offers free practical guidelines here: http://disastersafety.org/flood/reduce-basement-flood-risks/
One, often overlooked, piece of advice is to use area rugs instead of carpeting; rugs can be rolled up before water gets in the basement and can be easily removed and dried after water damage.
There is even more at the site including best materials, how to deal with electrical issues, identifying potential water sources, and corrective measures you can take in advance.
If you hire someone to do the work for you be sure to check their insurance and get a hold-harmless agreement. You can download a free copy in our Free Reports section of the website.
Lastly, don't forget to talk to your insurance agent.
When you finish your basement you want to be sure you do have adequate content and building coverage. A finished basement will raise the replacement cost value of your home. In the event of a non flood loss you still want to be sure your investment is protected.
Don't worry about your premium jumping sky high either, $25,000 worth of coverage, in most cases, results in less than $100 increase in premium over the year! That's about a QUARTER a day!
Please keep us updated if you do any major renovations on your home so we can be sure you are adequately protected.
Contact us if you have any questions or would like a free no obligation flood quote or to confirm coverage on your homeowner policy.
image source: usa-basementfinishing.com