6 Facts Homeowners Need to Know About Flood Insurance

Severe weather events are becoming a more common occurrence in areas all over the country. Flooding from heavy rains can cause loss of possessions in your home, as well as severe damage to construction materials. Flood insurance can help to defray the costs of these damaging flood events. Here are a few facts about flood insurance that explain how it can help homeowners avoid financial losses from unexpected flooding.

Flooding Is Not Just a Coastal Problem

If you have a home close to the ocean or other large body of water, you likely can expect flooding at some point. However, other waterways, such as lakes, rivers, and creeks, can also present a flooding risk when heavy rains or snowmelt occur. Dams can breach, causing water intrusion into nearby homes and businesses. In areas that have experienced recent development, the land’s topography may have been changed enough to cause unusual flooding during heavy rains. So, flood insurance is worth considering, whether you live near large bodies of water or further inland.

Not All Water Damage Is Covered by Your Home Insurance Policy

People often think their homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damage from flooding. Unfortunately, they often learn too late that this is not the case. Home insurance policies typically only cover damage that occurs from water coming from inside the house, such as burst pipes. Water from outside the structure, such as in most flooding events, is not covered.

Flood Insurance Supported by a National Government Program

Because the need to cover properties against expensive losses from flooding exists in many areas, the federal government has instituted the National Flood Insurance Program, administered through 50 insurance companies in the U.S., to provide affordable coverage. Without this support from the government, flood insurance premiums could be too expensive for most people to afford. The program has allowed millions of Americans to receive funds to rebuild and restore properties after major flooding events.

Flood Insurance Is Mandatory in Some Circumstances

Your mortgage holder may require you to carry flood insurance on your property, depending on your structure’s location in relation to the “flood plain” as determined by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These agencies map out areas based on the past history of flooding. You may also be required to carry flood insurance if you have received disaster assistance in the past in the form of grants or low-interest loans to repair damage to your property.

Flood Insurance Covers Structural Damage

National flood insurance policies cover many structural items of your home, such as:

  • The home and foundation
  • HVAC system
  • Installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
  • Installed cabinets, wallboard, paneling, and bookcases
  • Detached garage
  • Water heater
  • Window blinds¬†

Flood Insurance Covers Many Items Inside the Structure

In addition, your flood insurance will cover a number of your personal possessions. Additional content coverage can be purchased when needed. Basic coverage includes:

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Electronic equipment

A/C window units

  • Curtains
  • Washers and dryers
  • Microwave ovens
  • Freezer and frozen food
  • Up to $2,500 of jewelry, art, or furs

Paying for flood insurance premiums may seem like an extra expense you don’t really need, but today’s extreme changes in weather patterns make it well worth the cost. Talk to your insurance agent about how flood insurance can help you avoid the high cost of repair and replacement caused by catastrophic water damage.

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