What to know about water damage to your home after a flood - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What to know about water damage to your home after a flood

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YAKIMA, WA - With the severe winter weather finally coming to an end, most Yakima locals are celebrating the arrival of spring. Unfortunately, melting snow brings on a slew of problems all in its own.

When the snow melts, it can cause nearby rivers and lakes to flood easily. It can also bring excess water into the streets.

"If you decide you've got a flood coming, you can't just call your friend the flood insurance agent and say, 'Oh, bind coverage for me, I see the water coming!' That doesn't work," says Richard Elliott, owner of Elliott Insurance Service, Inc.

Elliott says most homeowners don't have flood damage coverage, but many people are still surprised they aren't covered once a flood occurs. He says costs for water damage coverage...

"...could be as little as $250, it could be, perhaps, on a small house that's not that close to a river or creek or stream...it could be, as I said earlier, several thousands of dollars on a nice house that's fairly close to a potential flooding body."

If you don't have this insurance and experience flooding problems, Elliott suggests putting sandbags in vulnerable areas of your home, or simply avoiding buying homes in flood zones. 

Another possibility for home damage is rooftop snow; which, after melting quickly, can cause roofs to collapse.

"Preventative maintenance doesn't hurt a bit. And a few of us who've been around here along time know about roof rakes...which can pull snow off the edge of the roof so the place doesn't collapse, or bend, or whatever," said Elliott.

So, what should someone do if they're worried about flood damage?

"The thing to do, to get going on it, would be to contact their insurance agent, tell them they're interested in flood coverage."

Elliott says coverage may require a certificate from a licensed surveyor, which may be time consuming...but it's better than waiting until the last minute to try and avoid water damage costs.