When you think of an inclined driveway, you might conjure thoughts of a majestic mansion at the top of a grassy slope. Perhaps you picture a long gray driveway looping down the hill from the front door all the way to a black iron gate, separating the massive estate from passersby on the street below.
I was fortunate to live in a lovely New England home growing up. My brother and I each got our own bedroom and we had a nice inclined driveway that provided a perfect drop for zipping down the pavement on roller blades or bikes. However, our home was quite different from the aforementioned image.
Instead of living atop a hill, our house was actually at the bottom of a slope, resting well below the street. In the winter, it was almost like living at the base of a very tiny ski slope. During the winter, snow was plowed into a pile at the bottom of our driveway, where it sat for weeks until melting in the spring. Sometimes, all the snow would thaw and stream down our driveway in rivulets, forming a small lake in front of our garage. This lake appeared during heavy rains, too. During spring and summer storms, too, water rushed down our driveway, threatening to enter our home. While perfect for puddle-jumping as a kid, my parents worried that the lake would spill through the garage door.
Our garage wasn’t waterproof. A foot of snow melting in a single day isn’t exactly unheard of in Massachusetts. Massive melts are a fact of life in New England and my parents took it upon themselves to guard our home from the worst-case scenario. We worried about water getting in through the garage and damaging our belongings. Plus, living on low-lying swampland in a river valley, we knew that we were at risk for leaking and flooding in our basement, as well.
Armed with gumboots, bags of sand and a bear-sized dehumidifier, we waged war on rising waters every year. We put any possessions vulnerable to water damage up on wooden pallets and kept an eye on the puddles that inched ever closer to our door. In the 18 years we lived in that house, I don’t ever recall defeat. We experienced some flooding, but because of our precautions, there was never substantial damage. In regards to flooding, our defense was our best offense. However, there is another form of defense against flooding.
If you’re worried about flooding from melted snow or heavy rains, you might want to consider adding flood insurance to your homeowners policy. Flooding coverage generally isn’t included in standard policies, so you should speak to your agent about adequately protecting your home from rising waters. Your insurance plan comes with protection for other water damage, such as through your roof or from a busted pipe, but you need additional protection from regular flooding. Some areas of the United States are more at risk than others. Consult your agent to learn if your home is located in a high-risk zone. As an alternative there are number of home insurance “deal” sites that exist to cater to shoppers and those seeking low-cost alternatives. Sites like InsuranceTown.com can offer you multiple flood insurance quotes from a variety of insurance companies. This will allow you to compare quotes and get the lowest possible price. Adding flood insurance to your policy is a simple precaution with great potential benefits.
Tara Conacher is a 30 year freelance writer based out of New England. Her area of expertise is Natural Disasters and what families need to do to prepare for them.