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Protect Yourself From Flooding

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If you live near Tinley Creek, or if you have experienced water problems in the past, you shouldn't wait for the problem to go away. Here are some things you can do:

Get the information:

  • The Building Department can tell you if you are in a mapped flood zone and provide additional information needed for a flood insurance policy. Call them at 349-4887
  • Ask the Building Department staff to visit your property to see what advice they have on the cause of the problem and possible solutions.
  • Ask for a free copy of the Village's Guide to Flood Protection. It includes many helpful ideas on what you can do to be ready for the next storm.
  • Check out flood protection references in the Tinley Park Public Library.
  • More information can be found on the FEMA Website: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/info.shtm
Protect your property: There are many ways to protect your home from a water problem. They include:
Keep Your Easement Open: One of the biggest causes of flooding problems in Orland Hills has been obstructions built or placed in the drainage easements that were established along lot lines. These areas were set aside to carry water away from your house without flooding your neighbors. Keep them open.
  • Regrading your yard so water flows away from your house toward the drainage swale or street,
  • Elevating a building on a crawlspace so that flood waters do not enter or reach any damageable portions of it,
  • Constructing barriers out of fill or concrete between the building and flood waters,
  • "Floodproofing" so the building is not damaged when the water comes,
  • Preventing sewer backup with a standpipe, valve or overhead sewer,
  • Installing a backup power supply for your sump pump,
  • Removing valuable contents out of the basement when the flood comes, and
  • Shutting off the electricity and gas when you leave a flooded house.

These are discussed in more detail in the Village's Guide to Flood Protection available free at the Village Hall, and in other references in the Library.

Get Insured: Flood insurance is highly recommended. Remember, even if the last storm or flood missed you or you have done some floodproofing, the next flood could be worse. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover property for flood damage.

Orland Hills participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Local insurance agents can sell a flood insurance policy under rules and rates set by the Federal government. Any agent can sell a policy and all agents must charge the same rates.

Any house can be covered by a flood insurance policy. It does not matter if they are in the mapped floodplain or out of it. Detached garages and accessory buildings are covered under the policy for the lot's main building. Separate coverage can be obtained for the building's structure and for its contents (except for money, valuable papers, and the like). The structure generally includes everything that stays with a house when it is sold, including the furnace, cabinets, built in appliances, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

There is no coverage for things outside the house, like the driveway and landscaping. Renters can buy contents coverage, even if the owner does not buy structural coverage on the building.

Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30 day waiting period before National Flood Insurance coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.

Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. If you have a policy, check it closely. You may only have structural coverage (because that's all that banks require). During the kind of flooding that happens in Orland Hills, there is usually more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure.

Several insurance companies have sump pump failure or sewer backup coverage that can be added to a homeowner's insurance policy. Each company has different amounts of coverage, exclusions, deductibles, and arrangements. Most are riders that cost extra. Most exclude damage from surface flooding that would be covered by a National Flood Insurance policy. The cost varies from nothing to up to about $75 for a rider on your homeowner's insurance premium.

Basements, split levels and bilevels: There is limited coverage for basements and the below grade floors of bilevels and trilevels. The National Flood Insurance Program defines "basement" as "Any area of the building, including any sunken room or sunken portion of a room, having its floor below ground level (subgrade) on all sides." This includes split levels and bilevels.

Coverage under building or structural coverage is limited to specific items needed for the operation of the building, such as a furnace, water heater, clothes washer and dryer. There is very limited coverage for finishings, such as wallpaper and carpeting, and contents. Flood insurance only covers damage when there is a general condition of surface flooding in the area.

If you have any questions you can reach the Building Department @ 708-349-4887

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