Updated July 9, 2021
Flooding can happen at any time. You don’t want to wait until you’re dealing with a disaster to make sure you’re protected. If you’re considering purchasing flood insurance here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Will my standard homeowners or business policy provide coverage for flood damage?
No. Neither standard homeowners, nor commercial, nor renters/condominium policies provide coverage for water damage due to flood.
What is flood insurance?
In simple terms, flood insurance covers direct physical losses caused by floods, flood-related erosion, severe rainstorms, flash floods, and snow melt. Flood insurance is offered under a federal government program known as the National Flood Insurance Program.
If flood insurance is offered under a federal program, can I still purchase it through an insurance agent?
Yes, you can purchase it directly through an agent the same way you purchase home, life, or auto insurance.
What coverages are included under a standard flood insurance policy?
There are two aspects of flood insurance coverage: building property and personal property.
Building property coverage protects the structure itself, and generally covers:
- the building and foundation
- electrical and plumbing systems
- HVAC and water heaters
- major kitchen appliances
- carpeting, paneling, cabinets and installed bookcases
- detached buildings
- debris removal
Personal property coverage generally covers:
- personal belongings (clothing, furniture, electrical equipment)
- portable and window air conditioners
- washers and dryers
- window treatments
- some valuable items
Keep in mind water back-up and sump overflow coverage will not help if ground or surface water rising on all sides of the building causes water damage to your basement or a section of your home built over a crawl space or on a slab.
Flood insurance does NOT provide additional living expense coverage. Also, the only items in a basement that are covered are furnaces, electrical panels, and other items that provide services to the home, like water heaters. Washers, dryers, and food freezers in the basement are covered, if you have purchased contents coverage on the policy. However, any finished walls, floors, furniture or stored contents are not covered by the flood policy.
I’ve heard the price of flood insurance can vary widely. Is this true?
No. Flood insurance rates are determined and set by the federal government, so price shopping and comparison are unnecessary.
My home isn’t located in a high risk flood zone. Why would I need flood insurance?
Flooding can affect you even if you don’t live near water. Approximately 25% of flood claims come from low- to moderate-risk areas. If you are located in such an area, you may be eligible for a lower cost Preferred Risk policy.
Can I purchase flood insurance immediately before a flood occurs, or when it is occurring?
Normally, there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy becomes effective. There are some exceptions.
Homes outside of a normal flood plain area can purchase a preferred flood policy with low premiums to provide coverage for this exposure. Current flood policies still provide limited coverage for finished building components and contents below ground level. Many flood losses occur outside identified flood plain areas. You should understand coverage limitations but consider purchasing flood insurance coverage even if your mortgage company does not require it.
If you have other questions or are interested in purchasing flood insurance, give us a call!