One mistake a lot of homeowners make is assuming their homeowner’s insurance covers flood damage. Many policies come with a sewer back up rider and this does NOT include flood coverage. Just because you don’t live in a flood zone, doesn’t mean you can’t have a flood. According to FEMA, more that 20% of flood claims come from outside a floodplain, which means there really isn’t any place safe from flooding.
Floods are the most common and most costly type of natural disaster in the U.S. If you have no flood insurance, there is no way out except pay for the repairs yourself which could run into the several thousands of dollars.
Only a single inch of rain can do $25,000.00 (according to a FEMA report in 2019) worth of damage to your property. Renters need to be especially mindful of this, as you can’t depend on the rental owner to supply flood insurance. Renters don’t need to worry about structural damages, foe example, but it’s a good idea to get a contents-only flood policy.
Make sure your insurance agent/company participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as you can’t just buy flood insurance yourself. If your agent does not offer it, you can call the NFIP for a referral agent.
Questions to ask your insurance agent to get a full understanding about flood insurance coverage.
Do I live in a flood zone and if so, what is my property’s flood risk? You may not even be aware that your house is in a flood zone. Is there going to be a change in the flood zone map that may affect what you pay? Changes are made frequently which could raise your rates.
What will and will not be covered with my flood insurance? There are always things that will not be covered, as with any type of insurance policy. Will it cover your contents as well as the damage to the dwelling? What types of floods are covered?
How much coverage is needed? Underinsured really isn’t much better than being uninsured. The important thing is to cover as much property as possible to keep your out of pocket expenses low.
Flood insurance policies only cover damages from Natural Flood Disasters and not something like burst/broken pipes or overflowing toilets. Be sure to go over coverages with your agent.
General Flood Insurance covers the following for the building property coverage part of the policy:
- The structure of your house
- Detached garages
- Central AC, furnaces, vacuum systems, etc
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Refrigerators and built in appliances
- Window blinds
- Permanently installed carpeting
If you need (suggested) get a personal property rider for the contents of your home. Start writing down the contents of your home to get a general idea of what it would cost to replace everything. The numbers will amaze you.
These items are usually included in the contents part of the policy:
- Clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
- Carpets not included in building coverage
- Washers and dryers
- Food freezers and the food in them
- Portable air conditioners, window units
- Valuables like artwork and fur (up to $2,500)
Talk to your agent now about flood coverage. NFIP insurance has a 30 day waiting period to become active.