6 Steps to Help Prevent Basement Flooding

Posted by Safeco August 17, 2015
Tips to Help Prevent Basement Flooding

Tips to Help Keep Your Basement Dry

With summer's thunderstorms and tropical storms, this is an opportune time to think about basement flooding and ways to prevent it. It's not the only time, however.

The National Flood Insurance Program's website notes numerous potential causes of flooding that cover just about any time of the year, in just about any part of the country: spring snow melt and showers in the mountains, winter rains in the Northwest and elsewhere, autumn hurricanes on the Atlantic Coast.

So, check out these suggestions for preventing flooding and give your basement a good look. There's no time like the present to help ensure that it stays dry.

  1. Clean the debris from your gutters and downspouts, and consider replacing them if they overflow even when clean.
  2. Check that your downspouts extend at least six feet from your basement wall, and make sure they are not connected to your foundation footer drain tiles or to underground dry wells.
  3. Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement's walls and floors. To fill small cracks, use epoxy in the foundation and masonry sealer indoors. For major fixes, call in a professional contractor.
  4. Examine your yard during a heavy rainstorm. Watch to see if water pools next to your home. If so, seek the advice of a landscaper or excavation contractor on ways to direct water away.
  5. Also in the yard, see that shade trees with aggressive roots, such as silver maples, are planted at least 20 feet from your house to protect your foundation. Smaller species, like white fir, require only 10 to 15 feet of clearance.
  6. Consider a sump pump. Properly installed, a pump can act as a huge floor drain. Make sure its well is free of debris, and think about a battery or propane backup generator for it in case of power outages.

Finally, know what your home insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover when it comes to floods and water damage. Most homeowner policies cover damage caused by a sudden and accidental water event, such as a burst pipe. However, damage due to neglect, such as not cleaning out your gutters regularly, is generally not covered.

Further, your homeowners insurance likely does not cover flood damage, either to your home or belongings, so you may choose to purchase a separate flood policy. Talk to your independent insurance agent about what’s right for you.


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Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.