Monthly Archives: October 2019

Trick or Treat Checklist and Safety Tips

DHREA 31/10/2019

You can never be too prepared or too safe when it comes to our children trick or treating. Continuing the Halloween theme this week, we thought it was important to present some tips and tricks to help make you and your child’s Halloween fun, safe, and as fail-safe as can be. First, we listed some fantastic supplies that come in handy during the yearly candy and costume adventure. Second, some really good safety tips for the spooky night. These might just be refreshers to some, but protecting our little ones is worth the refresher.

TRICK OR TREAT SUPPLY CHECKLIST

  • Candy Bag
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • Reflector Strips or Glow Stick
  • Trick or Treating Route
  • Return Home/Meet-Up Time
  • Emergency Identification Information Attached
  • Costume Check
  • Bandaids
  • Bottled Water
  • Extra House Key
  • Cell Phone

TRICK OR TREAT SAFETY TIPS

  • Go During Safe Trick Or Treat Times

    You don’t have to wait until it is pitch-black outside to go trick-or-treating. A good trick or treat time is right after an early dinner and just before dusk when you can keep better track of your children and you are able to see the others that you encounter on the street. Besides, if you are the first person there, you will have the best selection of candy!

  • Steer Clear Of Masks

    While masks are a fun part of many costumes, do your best to recreate the mask with face paint. Having a mask on can sometimes impair the vision of the child wearing it. With face paint, it is easier for your child to see where they are going and they won’t have to lift their mask to have a conversation with a fellow trick or treater. If your child absolutely must wear a Halloween mask, make sure it’s a snug fit, is ventilated and has large enough eyeholes so they can see all around them.

  • Be Visible

    If your kids will comply, choose costumes that are brightly colored so that they are easier to see in the dark. If they really want a dark costume, apply some reflective strips to their costume. You could also have them wear glow necklaces or carry glow sticks and flashlights.

  • Never Go Alone

    It is important that your children have an adult chaperon at all times while trick or treating. You should also discreetly add some emergency identification information such as the child’s name, address & phone number to their costume or on a bracelet in case your child happens to get separated from the group.

  • Walking Tips

    Be sure that your children understand simple traffic rules, such as stopping and looking both ways before crossing the street, and staying in a crosswalk if one is available. If you have to cross at a light, make sure you have the proper “walk” signal before you proceed. Inform your children that they should never assume that they have the right away when crossing the street, especially at night on Halloween.

  • Knock On Doors That You Know

    Encourage your children to only trick-or-treat at homes where they know the inhabitants. If they know everyone on the street, except for one house, they could ask the neighbors about that one house. If a home is dark or has no Halloween decorations, that is typically a good sign that they are not up for trick-or-treaters.

  • Don’t Go Inside

    Trick-or-treaters always seem to run across a house or two where someone invites them to “come in”. Remind your little ones that they should never go inside anybody’s home while trick-or-treating. They can easily get the candy they seek from the porch or if the homeowner is persistent, inform them to simply turn and walk away.

  • Stay On Track

    It might be tempting to take a short cut through an alley or cut through someone’s yard, but that can sometimes pose a danger. Stay on streets and in neighborhoods that are well lit and where there are plenty of people around.

  • Say No!

    If you’re children are old enough to trick or treat in a group without you, be sure and designate a time for their return. Teach your children that if a stranger offers to give them a ride or take them to a Halloween Party, they should say “no”. Stranger danger is important to remember no matter how old your kids are, even while trick-or-treating.

  • Taste-Testing Patience

    Make sure your little goblins know that trick or treating is for gathering candy, not eating it as they receive it. You know they’re going to be tempted to take a taste before you’ve had a chance to inspect it, so pack a goody bag with some of your own Halloween candy so they have something to snack on if they just can’t wait until they get home.

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Carnegie, PA
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Visit our affiliates!

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Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

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Western Pennsylvania Trick or Treat Times (With Updates)

DHREA 30/10/2019

Don’t let the rain wash away your Halloween festivities! Here’s a list of Trick or Treat times all over Western Pennsylvania. Locations in green have been updated due to weather on Thursday:

Allegheny County

Aspinwall – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat), 7:30-9:30pm (Firefighter’s Costume Parade @ Aspinwall Borough Building)
Avalon – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Baldwin Borough – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Baldwin Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Bellevue – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Ben Avon – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat), Saturday, October 26, 12:00-1:00PM (Halloween Parade)
Bethel Park – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Blawnox – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat), Thursday, October 31, 5:30-6:00PM (Children’s Halloween Parade)
Braddock – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Braddock Hills – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Brackenridge -Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Bridgeville – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Carnegie – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Castle Shannon – Saturday, November 2, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Churchill – Saturday, October 26, 2:00 PM (Halloween Party at Yagle Community Center), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Clairton -Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Collier – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Coraopolis – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Crafton – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Crescent – Saturday, November 2, 5:30-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Dormont – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Dravosburg – Friday, November 1, 6:00-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
East Deer – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Edgewood – Tuesday, October 29, 6:00 PM (Halloween Parade, outside Edgewood Elementary School), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Edgeworth – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Elizabeth Borough – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Elizabeth Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat), Saturday, October 19, 11:00-12:00 PM (Halloween Parade/ Trunk or Treat)
Fawn – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Findlay Township – Saturday, November 2, 4:00-6:00 PM (Trick or Treat) 
Forest Hills – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Forward – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Fox Chapel – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Glen Osborne – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Green Tree – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Harmar – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Harrison – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Indiana Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Ingram – Saturday, October 26, 2:00-4:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Jefferson Hills – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Kennedy – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Leetsdale – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Liberty Borough – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Lincoln – Saturday, October 26, 6:00-8:00 PM (“Trunk or Treat” at Fireman’s Social Hall)
Marshall – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
McCandless – Saturday, November 2, 5:00-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
McKees Rocks – Saturday, October 26, 12:00 PM (Halloween Event, Rangers Field), Thursday, October 31, 6:00- 8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
McDonald – Saturday, November 2, 2:00-4:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Millvale – Thursday, October 31, 5:30-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Monroeville – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Moon Township –  Saturday, November 2, 5:00-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Mount Oliver – Saturday, October 26, 2:00-4:00PM (Trunk or Treat), Thursday, October 31, 5:30-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
Mt. Lebanon – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Munhall – Saturday, October 26, 2:30 PM (Halloween Parade), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Neville Island – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
North Braddock – Thursday, October 31 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
North Fayette – Saturday, November 2, 4:00-6:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
North Versailles – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Oakdale – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat) 
Ohio – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Pennsbury Village – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Penn Hills – Thursday, October 31 5:30PM-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
Pitcairn – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Pittsburgh – Thursday, October 31, 5:30-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
Pleasant Hills – Tuesday, October 29, 6:30-8:00 PM ( Halloween Parade), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Port Vue – Thursday,, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Reserve – Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM (Halloween Parade), Thursday, October 31, 5:30-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
Richland Township – Sunday, October 20 (Halloween Party), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Robinson – Saturday, October 26, 12:00-2:00 PM (Halloween in the Park), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Ross Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Scott – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Sewickley – Saturday, October 26, 10:30-11:30 AM (Halloween Parade), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Sewickley Hills – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Shaler – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Sharpsburg – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
South Fayette – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
South Park – Sunday, October 27, 1:30-4:00 PM (Halloween Party), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
South Versailles – Friday, November 1, 6:00-8:00PM (Trick or Treat)
Springdale Borough – Thursday, October 31, 5:30-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
Swissvale – Saturday, November 2 5:00-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Tarentum – Saturday, October 12, 3:00-6:00 PM (Boo Festival), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Thornburg – Thursday, October 31, 6:15 PM (Halloween Parade, Trick or Treat immediately following)
Trafford – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Upper St. Clair – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Verona – Thursday, October 31, 6:00PM-8:00PM (Trick or Treat)
West Deer Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
West Mifflin – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat), Saturday, October 26, 2:00-4:00PM (Kid’s Halloween Event and Fall Fest)
West View Borough – Thursday October 31, 6:00-8:00PM (Halloween Parade on Monday Oct. 27 at 7PM – Perry Highway at Highland Avenue)
Whitehall – Thursday, October 31 6:00 PM-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Wilkins Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Beaver County

Ambridge – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Beaver – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Brighton – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Chippewa Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Conway Borough – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Hanover Township – Saturday, November 2, 6:00-8:00PM

Butler County

Buffalo Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Butler Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Cranberry – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Seven Fields – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Summit Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Zelienople – Wednesday, October 30, 6:30-7:30 PM (Halloween Parade), Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Fayette County

Connellsville – Friday, November 1, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Washington Township/Belle Vernon – Saturday, October 26, 2:00-4:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Lawrence County

Mahoning Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-9:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
New Castle – Saturday, November, 4:00-6:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Wampum – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Mercer County

Sandy Lake – Thursday, October 31, 4:00-6:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Washington County

Canonsburg – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Canton Township – Thursday, October 31, 5:30-7:30 PM (Trick or Treat)
Carroll Township – Saturday, October 26, 5:00-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Midway Borough – Wednesday, October 30, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
North Strabane – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
South Strabane – Thursday, October 31, 5:30-7:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Peters Township – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)

Westmoreland County

East Vandergrift Borough – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Hempfield – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Irwin – Friday, November 1, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat) 
Lower Burrell – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
New Stanton – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
North Huntingdon – Friday, November 1, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat) 
North Irwin – Friday, November 1, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat) 

Southwest Greensburg – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
West Leechburg – Thursday, October 31, 6:00-8:00 PM (Trick or Treat)
Youngwood Borough – Thursday, October 31, 6:00 PM (Halloween Parade), Trick or Treat immediately following parade (End time not stated)

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Carnegie, PA
226 Members

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Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

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Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

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Tara Mortgage Services Featured Blog! The Financial Benefits of Buying a Home in a College Town

DHREA 28/10/2019

Even if you’re done with college or if your children are years away from higher education, there are still many benefits to living in a college town. And don’t think that college towns are all small towns. College towns can be as urban as Tallahassee, Florida, thriving with business while remaining surprisingly low-cost.

Here are some of the financial benefits of buying a home in a college town, and remember to contact Tara Mortgage Services for even more savings options! Low mortgage rate and steady home prices (so far) make it a great time to buy a home.

Low-Cost Entertainment and Cultural Events

Colleges are known as “tastemakers” in the entertainment industry and often attract touring musicians, theater performances, and speakers, many of which wouldn’t typically come to smaller cities. Surrounding businesses host these events as well. Local theaters, bars, and city parks are great places to catch concerts that are open to the public. Let’s not forget that the colleges aren’t just hosting; they’re producing performances as well. Tickets are less expensive than even the most modest-priced Broadway show and are a great way to support your local artists.

State of the Art Medical Services

Medical schools are yet another low-cost benefit of living in a college town. Under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, medical students offer a wide variety of medical services in the university-sponsored clinic or large hospital. And since university medical facilities are the benefactors of non-profit donations, they usually have the most advanced medical equipment while remaining relatively low-cost.

Smart Rental Property Investment

If you decide to rent your property, a college town will ensure it will never be without a renter. The demand for housing is steady, and in the case of public universities, the need can be high. The caveat is that the turnover rate for renters is higher in college towns. But if you purchase a rental property in a college town like Boston or Denver, the likelihood of finding a long-term renter easier.

Whether you are buying a property for living in or renting, this could be the smartest investment of you life. Contact Tara Mortgage Services today to learn about mortgages and investment properties in our city!

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
738 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
226 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

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Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

Read More

Control Mold!

DHREA 24/10/2019

Mold spores can be frustrating to homeowners, renters, and investment property buyers. From potential health issues to property damage, mold is often one of the most overlooked pain points for any property. Here is a list of tips and tricks to help reduce exposure and minimize growth inside your home and property. Some are common sense, some are things we all overlook. Whether you’re sensitive to mold spores and want to protect your health, or you simply want to protect your home or investment, check out the list I compiled below!

Exterior:

  • Avoid outdoor places where mold is likely to be in high concentration. These include shady areas, compost piles, kennels, and piles of leaves, grass, or straw.
  • Promptly repair and seal leaky pipes and roofs.
  • Have the yard mowed and raked regularly.
  • Keep rain gutters clean. Clear leaves and debris from drainage areas around your home and yard.
  • Store firewood away from the house.

Interior:

  • Cleaning your house regularly and properly can help reduce mold.
  • Clean with a commercial anti mold product. Choose a product containing a mixture of bleach and detergent or make your own anti mold cleaner. Mix 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach and 1 quart of water.
  • Clean carefully, especially in areas where mold is likely to grow, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
  • Empty refrigerator drip pans and thoroughly clean them with a commercial anti mold product.
  • Keep garbage cans and trash compactors clean and free of mildew.
  • Store things carefully. Don’t store newspaper, clothes, and other items in damp areas because they can become moldy. Store only completely clean and dry clothing and shoes. Even small amounts of grime can stimulate mold growth.
  • Throw away any moldy foods lurking in your refrigerator and cupboards.

Air Circulation:

  • Use a fan in the bathroom to remove damp air. If you don’t have a fan, open a window and consider having a fan installed. In bathrooms without windows, open a door when you’re finished, and consider using a dehumidifier.
  • Use a dehumidifier to dry out a damp basement, but be sure to empty the water from it and clean it regularly. Water left in dehumidifiers allows mold to grow.
  • Don’t use humidifiers or vaporizers. Putting extra moisture into the air encourages mold growth. If you choose to use these appliances, follow the manufacturer’s instructions about regular cleaning. Even special humidifiers designed to lessen mold growth require regular and thorough cleaning.
  • Ventilate closed rooms by opening doors and installing fans.

Miscellaneous:

  • Avoid sleeping in areas of the house that are below ground level.
  • Don’t put carpeting directly on concrete or damp floors. The carpet may become moldy.
  • When painting damp areas, choose mold-inhibiting paints. They can be found at most paint stores.
  • Remove all carpets and wallpaper with visible mold or mildew.
  • Don’t over-water plants. A few household plants probably will not cause problems if you’re mold-sensitive, but standing water promotes mold growth.
  • Keep windows sealed tightly. You may need to replace weather stripping on older windows.
  • Eliminate dark areas. Most mold needs darkness to grow. In the basement or in closets that tend to be damp, install a light on a timer. Add windows or skylights to dark rooms.

 

(Editor’s Note: These are merely suggestions and what has worked for others in the past. Results may vary.)

Network with over 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
738 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
224 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

Read More

Featured Blog by Bankrate! Guide to Flood Insurance: Here’s What to Know

DHREA 23/10/2019

If you’re a homeowner and you have a mortgage, flood insurance is recommended because flooding can happen anywhere. Floods are the nation’s most common natural disaster but the damage is rarely covered under your homeowners or renters policy.

Flood insurance is designed to restore your property to its pre-flood condition. It’s the best way to protect your home and belongings in the event of a flood, providing financial structure and peace of mind that your home will be taken care of.

Find the best homeowners insurance rate

Because of the increase in natural disasters, flood insurance rates are on the rise, but there are ways to reduce how much you pay for your flood insurance policy. The first step is to assess your home’s flood zone level. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides flood maps which show community flood zones. The FEMA Flood Map Service Center allows you to type your address into the tool to show your community’s flood map and better understand your risk.

I have homeowners insurance, isn’t that enough?

Homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies don’t offer protection against flooding as is. However, many homeowners insurance companies offer flood insurance, so check with your insurance agent first to see if your provider offers it.

No matter where you live in the country, it’s important to purchase flood insurance. Even if you don’t live in a high risk flood area, you’re still at risk of flood damage. In fact, 20% of flood claims are filed in low to moderate risk flood areas.

How does flood insurance work?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Flood insurance covers direct physical losses from floods and losses resulting from flood related erosion caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels and accompanied by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tide surge or a similar situation that results in flooding.”

Flood damage isn’t covered under homeowners or renters insurance so you’ll have to get the policy separately. The maximum insurance coverage amount available from the National Flood Insurance Program is $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for the contents of the home. You can also purchase “excess” coverage which covers properties valued above those limits.

What’s covered under flood insurance?

Building property flood insurance (coverage for your home) covers things like electrical and plumbing systems, carpet, foundation walls and appliances. Personal property flood insurance must be purchased separately and covers things like furniture, clothing, washers and dryers, curtains and artwork.

What isn’t covered under flood insurance?

Damage to your home or personal property caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner isn’t covered under flood insurance. Damage caused by earth movement, additional living expenses like temporary housing and vehicles are also not covered under flood insurance and require other types of coverage to be properly insured.

The two types of flood insurance

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The National Flood Insurance Program gives homeowners access to federally supported flood insurance. NFIP insurance is available to anyone living in both high-risk and low to moderate-to-low-risk areas. Premiums start as low as $119 per year for low risk areas to $1,027 in high risk areas.

Flood insurance is easy to purchase directly from an insurance agent, with over 100 insurance companies who write and service NFIP policies. If you’re interested in buying flood insurance, the best place to begin is by asking your homeowners insurance provider to assist you. However, not all insurance providers offer these policies, so you may have to shop around if your provider is one of them. There is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase until your policy goes into effect, so keep this in mind especially if you’re a new homeowner.

Private flood insurance

Private flood insurance also covers the structure of your home and its contents from water damage, except it receives no support from the federal government. Instead, private flood insurers are for-profit companies that either rely on a reinsurer or money collected from premiums to pay out damages. The waiting time to begin coverage is only 25 days, less time than it takes for NFIP coverage to take effect.

Private flood insurance offers higher coverage limits than the NFIP, with a max rebuild limit of $500,000 or higher and is more comprehensive. The NFIP plan will only reimburse you for the depreciated amount of your flood-damaged belongings, while private flood insurance covers personal property at its replacement cost, without deducting depreciation. While private flood insurance seems to be the best option, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, it may not be available in your area, and in high-risk areas where it is available, you run the risk of higher premiums. That will make a big difference in the event that you file a claim.

How much does flood insurance cost?

The average cost of NFIP coverage is about $700 per year and varies by home and state depending on several factors:

  • Type of coverage (federal or private)
  • Age and build of the home
  • Location and flood zone level

How to lower the cost of flood insurance

Whether you already have flood insurance, or you’re interested in finding a great deal as a first time buyer, here are a few ways to reduce costs:

Fix expensive errors in your flood insurance premium

  • Get an auditor – An auditor will help spot and correct information in your flood insurance premium that can heavily affect price like flood zone, construction date, etc.
  • Check if you’re eligible for Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) rates – This is a Standard Flood Insurance Policy that offers low-cost coverage to owners and tenants of eligible buildings located in the moderate-risk B, C and X Zones in the NFIP communities. The maximum coverage for residential buildings is $250,000 and $100,000 for contents.
  • Look into a community discount or Community Rating System (CRS) – This discount is calculated based on your community’s efforts to reduce the risk of flooding.
  • Increase your deductible – A higher deductible will lower your flood insurance premium but will also reduce your claim payment, which means you’ll cover the difference out of pocket.

Protect your property from flood damage

Building a new home or renovating yours? Here are a few ways you could help lower your flood insurance premium and reduce potential damage.

  • Relocate your home – One of the best options for protecting your home is to relocate your house to an area of your property that’s above the base flood elevation.
  • Elevation – You can save hundreds of dollars on flood insurance costs by elevating above the base flood elevation. Elevating one foot above the base flood elevation can result in a 30% reduction in annual premiums.
  • Utilities – Move any machinery that services your building somewhere above the base flood elevation such as an attic or a closet.
  • Flood openings – One common reason why flood insurance policies are rated so severely is due to a lack of proper ood openings. Garage doors, windows, and doors don’t count unless they have flood openings installed within them.
  • Basements – If you’re building a new home, back filling any excavated areas within the foundation will help you save money on your insurance premium. It can also be done post-build using pea-gravel or other suitable material to raise the interior crawl space floor elevation.

The bottom line

No matter where you live, flood insurance will help you protect your home and belongings in case of a natural disaster. Now that you know the differences between homeowners and flood insurance, the different types of flood insurance and how to effectively reduce your premiums, you can confidently protect your home from flood related damage.

(This article originally appeared at Bankrate.com)

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