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Chubb Offers Tips to Help Keep Basements Dry This Spring

WARREN, NJ, March 17, 2014—Many U.S. residents this winter have endured record-breaking cold temperatures and a seemingly endless procession of storms that coated the South with ice and blanketed the North with snow. As the rainy season of spring approaches, now is the time for homeowners to make sure their basements will remain dry.

“The combination of rapidly melting snow and heavy rain can overwhelm homes that are not prepared to handle and dissipate all that water,” warned Jim Magliaro, appraisal operating manager at Chubb Personal Insurance. “A sharp, sudden rise in temperatures coupled with steady rain can create instant flooding that damages homes, especially those with basements.”

Magliaro said homeowners can take action now to help keep their basements from turning into swimming pools this spring. He suggested that homeowners:

Clear the ice and snow: If your house is still surrounded by snow, make sure the snow is not piled up against it. Icicles hanging from the gutters are likely a sign that the gutters and downspouts are clogged with ice. With clogged gutters, rain can sometimes make its way into the house instead of flowing safely away from the house. Homeowners in warmer climates should inspect their gutters to make sure they are not clogged with leaves or other debris.

Check sump pumps: Homeowners should test their sump pumps to make sure they are working properly. Water from a sump pump should drain away from the house so that it does not flow back into the basement. It’s a good idea to have a backup pump in case the primary pump fails. An alternative energy source, such as a backup battery or an electrical generator, will help ensure that the pump continues to work during power outages.

Safeguard valuables: Even if you’ve taken every precaution to keep water out of your home, the basement may still get wet. You can still mitigate your losses by removing rugs, electronics and other valuables from the basement floor.

While these steps may help prevent losses, Magliaro said that some homeowners also should consider long-term solutions, such as re-grading the property so that water flows away from the house.

Finally, it’s important to have flood insurance, particularly if your home is in a high-risk flood zone, as most homeowners insurance policies will not cover damage caused by flooding. Coverage is available through the National Flood Insurance Program or some private insurers, including Chubb.

Magliaro works for Chubb Personal Insurance’s home appraisal unit, which conducts complimentary appraisals of many customers’ homes. Chubb’s Home Appraisal Service helps make sure homeowners are prepared in the event of a loss. Some 160 appraisers help customers estimate the cost to rebuild their home before a loss occurs. The appraisers also offer security and fire prevention advice and identify safety measures in a home that could qualify for premium credits.

About Chubb

Since 1882, members of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies have provided property and casualty insurance products to customers around the globe. These products are offered through a worldwide network of independent agents and brokers. The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is known for financial strength, underwriting and loss-control expertise, tailoring products for the needs of high-net-worth individuals and commercial customers in niche markets and select industry segments, and outstanding claim service.

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is the marketing term used to describe several separately incorporated insurance companies under the common ownership of The Chubb Corporation. The Chubb Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and, together with its subsidiaries, employs approximately 10,000 people throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. For more information regarding The Chubb Corporation, including a listing of the insurers in the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, visit www.chubb.com.