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Home Sense

Tips for Protecting Your Home from Heavy Rain

A rainy day can do more than just dampen your mood – it can turn your home and property into a soggy mess.

While it may be impossible to stop every water issue, there are things you can do to protect your home from water damage caused by heavy rain. They include:

  • Install (or have a contractor install) a sump pump. Sump pumps drain water from the inside of a structure to the outside. Make sure you opt for a battery backup sump pump system so that electrical power failures don’t cause your sump pump to fail. Consider installing an alarm so you’re notified if your pump loses power. (Related: What are French Drains… And Do I Need One?)
  • Install (or have a contractor install) a backwater valve. This device prevents city sewers from backing up into your basement plumbing fixtures.  
  • Have your chimney checked. Cracks in your chimney let water seep in, so hire a professional to check yours. Learn more in our homeowner’s guide to chimney inspections.
  • Have your roof inspected regularly. Fixing issues as they arise can spare you from big repairs down the road.
  • Clean (or hire a professional to clean) your gutters. Backed up downspouts and gutters can cause damage to your roofline, soffit, or other areas of your home. Read what to know before you clean your gutters.
  • Make sure the seals around your windows, doors and other openings are in good condition. If they aren’t, reseal them with caulk. Make sure any wood window and door trim is painted to help prevent wood rot and structural damage to your home.
  • Check your property for low-lying areas that may pose a drainage issue if the ground becomes too saturated. Find a source of concern? Make sure you contact a landscaping and drainage professional to have the area looked at before it becomes a costly problem you can’t control.
  • Consider buying sandbags. If you live in a flood- or hurricane-prone area, they can save your home from serious damage when heavy rains hit. Before you get to it, read this guide to sandbag safety from OSHA and learn how to properly create a sandbag barrier to redirect flood waters.

Sometimes water seeps in even after you take steps to protect your home from heavy rain. If it does, having the right insurance protection is key. Here’s what to know:

  • Flood insurance: Remember that your homeowners insurance policy doesn’t automatically include flood insurance. Flood insurance must be purchased as a separate policy, either privately or through the National Flood Insurance Program. There’s typically a mandatory waiting period before it will go into effect (30 days for policies purchased through NFIP). Your local ERIE agent can explain your options for flood coverage through a federally funded flood carrier. Learn more about flood insurance.
  • Homeowners insurance: For extra peace of mind, ask your local ERIE agent about adding  sewer or drain backup coverage to your homeowners insurance policy. This endorsement provides coverage if water or sewage backs up into your house through sewers or drains, or overflows from inside a sump pump or other system designed to remove water that drains from your foundation. (Sublimits apply for this coverage.) Learn more about homeowners insurance from ERIE.

Not sure you have the right coverage? Then talk to an insurance professional like your local Erie Insurance agent. He or she can tell you more about the options ERIE offers, and help you get you a free quote customized for your home.

This story was originally published in 2015. It was updated with new information in 2019.

Rain, rain… go away. Find out what you can do to prevent water damage in your home. /blog/heavy-rain Erie Insurance