Tropical Storm Elsa

Experts Offer Insurance Advice After Basement Flooding From Tropical Storm Elsa

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People across Connecticut are still cleaning up from Tropical Storm Elsa. It brought significant amounts of rain to the area Friday and left many people, including Garth D’Andraia, a homeowner in Middletown, dealing with basement flooding.

D’Andraia’s wife called Friday night saying they had no hot water and it wasn’t until she looked in the basement that she realized why.

They had more than a foot of water in their basement. The furnace was ruined, along with their brand-new washer and dryer. There were pieces of the laminate flooring floating and D’Andraia’s drum set and custom-built bar were saturated.

“It was overwhelming, to say the least. I collapsed pretty bad. I broke,” D’Andraia said.

It was a shock for D’Andraia and his wife. They are first-time home buyers and had just bought the Middletown home in October.

“All your goods and everything were just floating away and that was one of the biggest selling points was the basement of the home because it was finished and we wanted something special for our family,” D’Andraia said.

D’Andraia is not alone. The Middletown Fire Department, just one of three departments that cover the city, was flooded with calls for help to pump out basements.

“Friday was extremely busy,” Jay Woron, the acting fire chief at the Middletown Fire Department said. “We went to tier one, which brings extra manpower in and we did about 40 extra calls which were water-related.”

D’Andraia said he believes his sump pump must have been overwhelmed and his insurance policy only covers up to $5,000.

Cody Holmes, of Holmes Insurance, said often times flooding because of ground water is not covered in a basic homeowner’s policy and separate flood insurance needs to be purchased. If a homeowner experiences sump pump failure or if water comes back through the sewage line, that is typically covered and falls under "water backup and sump pump overflow."

Holmes recommends that if your basement is flooding, speak with your insurance agent and try to get additional coverage. Holmes also recommends you have a professional landscaper look at your property, maybe do some grading, to direct water away from your house.

“I definitely recommend having the gutters cleaned and cleared and I also recommend that anybody that has downspouts, you get extenders and run that water away. It’s a very cheap fix for that problem. But when the water is beating down on the foundation, water is going to find its way to wherever it wants to go. So, if there’s any sort of area it could come in, bulkhead or walkout door, we have to make sure we’re redirecting that water,” said Holmes.

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