Homeowners insurance policies cover a multitude of incidents, but flood damage is typically excluded from all policies. Usually flood damage needs to be covered by a flood rider or policy that can be purchased for flood zones.
The only time your homeowners insurance policy may cover flood damage is if the flood occurred accidentally at the hands of the owner or a guest of the house.
Flood Insurance Coverage
If you have a broad homeowners insurance policy and your bathtub accidentally overflows, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that your sustained damages will be covered by your policy. However, if your basement floods due to torrential downpours then you may be dismayed to learn that your homeowners insurance policy does not cover any of the resulting damages. The distinguishing difference between water damage and flood damage is in the definition of the word flood, which equates to “rising water.”
Additional defining factors of a flood include whether or not more than one property was flooded and if the flood is a temporary situation. Usually the overflow of river banks or water seepage in a basement will qualify for flood damage if you have flood insurance on your homeowners insurance policy.
Be sure to review your policy closely to determine if flood insurance coverage is in effect. If it is not, get pricing for it and consider adding it to your policy. The average flood claim exceeds $30,000 while flood insurance can be purchased starting at only $120 per year. Flood insurance is available by the National Flood Insurance Program and can be purchased by homeowners, renters, and condo owners. Flood insurance is especially important if you live in a known flood zone.
Flood Zones Requiring Flood Insurance
Flood zones are not permanent establishments as changes in the weather can affect different areas at different times. However, there are certain areas that are more prone to flood damage than others on a routine basis. If you live in such a flood zone then you need to consider purchasing flood insurance.
The risk of flooding is more common than people realize because floods can result from flash floods, tropical storms, snow melts, dams, and even new development. New development can be an issue because the less land there is to absorb the rain the more risk you have of water entering your home.
If you are unsure if you are in a flood zone, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) can help you determine your risk based on the location of your property. There are moderate and low risk areas as well as high risk areas. High risk flood areas are classified as having an annual 1% opportunity for flooding. If your home is mortgaged through a federally regulated lender then you are required to carry flood insurance. The cost of flood damage can be quite extensive and if you are at risk of flooding you need financial protection.
The Extent of Flood Damage
The extent of flood damage can go way beyond the surface level. Water is incredibly powerful and can leave a wicked trail of destruction. It travels fast and far and only two inches of flood water can leave you with $10,000 dollars in damages. The higher the flood the greater extent of repairs needed.
Flood damage almost always necessitates new flooring and/or new carpet. Usually the subfloor needs to be replaced as well. Baseboard molding and drywall will also have to be replaced. Any furniture that was on the floor, such as bookshelves and tables, will also suffer a loss. Cleanup from a flood is an additional expense.
Professional flood damage repair is needed in order to bring in commercial dehumidifiers, air movers, and other tools to dry the water as fast as possible and prevent mold from forming. Mold is not covered by flood damage and can become quiet an expensive burden if it is not stopped from growing.
Severe flood damage can result in the expense of new cabinetry, appliances, furniture, and electronics. The more personal property that is lost the higher your claim will be. If you live in a high risk flood zone you need to be extra attentive to the storage of your belongings. Keep valuables high off the floor and invest in waterproof lockboxes for certain items.
Compare Home Insurance Quotes & Flood Insurance Quotes
You are only protected from flood damage if you have flood insurance purchased prior to any floods affecting your property. If you are unsure if your homeowners insurance policy covers flood damage, check with your agent and be sure to add it on if you need it. To get quotes from different insurance companies you can enter your zip code now and compare rates!