Flood season is here and we want to help you be prepared for what is inevitably going to come. If you don’t have flood insurance and you’re hit by a flood, the damage can be costly—and it usually isn’t covered by your homeowners insurance policy. “Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster and can happen anywhere. Just 1 inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage to a home or apartment” says Michael Hart, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If you’re considering buying flood insurance, here’s a rundown of what is—and isn’t—covered, according to the FEMA, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program.
Keep in mind that it takes 30 days to kick in after you purchase the policy.
Essential systems in the home. This includes electrical and plumbing systems, furnaces, water heaters, central air conditioners, heat pumps, and sump pumps. It also includes cisterns and the water in them, fuel tanks and the fuel in them, solar energy equipment, water tanks, and pumps.
Appliances. Refrigerators, ranges, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers are all usually covered. So, too, are portable window air conditioners, and freezers and the food in them.
Carpeting and window treatments. If you have permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor, or any other kinds of carpets over wooden floors, your policy should cover them. Your policy should also include window blinds and curtains.
Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets. If you have to replace your cabinets, your policy will pay only for the ones that were damaged. That means that if some cabinets were ruined but others were not affected, you might have trouble getting cabinets that match the older ones.
Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases attached to the building. There is an exclusion for “loss caused directly by earth movement even if the earth movement is caused by flood.”
A detached garage, used for limited storage or parking. You can use up to 10 percent of your total building coverage toward your garage, but that amount will be subtracted from the total amount of building coverage available to you.
Personal property. This includes clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment—though only if they’re not stored in the basement.
Certain valuables. Your policy is likely to cover items such as original artwork and furs, up to $2,500 in value.
Other coverage. Some events are covered even if they’re not strictly floods, like groundwater seepage and mud-flow. These would include a neighbor’s above-ground swimming pool collapsing, causing the water to flow into your home, or a water main break that damages your home and at least one other in your neighborhood. However, damage caused by a sewer backup is covered only if it’s a direct result of flooding.
What’s Not Covered
Flood insurance has eligibility requirements and numerous exclusions. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the following kinds of damage are not covered by flood insurance:
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner or which is not attributable to the flood
- Damage caused by earth movement, even if the earth movement is caused by flood
- Additional living expenses, such as temporary housing, while the building is being repaired or is unable to be occupied
- Loss of use or access to the insured property
- Financial losses caused by business interruption
- Property and belongings outside of an insured building, such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools
- Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates
- Most self-propelled vehicles, such as cars, including their parts
Federal flood insurance coverage is also capped at $250,000 per building and $100,000 for contents, though you can purchase policies with lower limits.
There are separate deductibles for your dwelling and contents. Higher coverage limits are available for policies for nonresidential structures and their contents.
Call us today for a free quote on your flood insurance policy! 843-399-0822