Flooding is the most common natural disaster to strike homes in America, and can also be the costliest. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that floods occur in every region of the U.S. The damage caused by flooding can be devastating, and many people do not realize that homeowner’s insurance does not cover it. Thankfully, flood insurance can help you protect your investment in your home by providing a degree of coverage for your house as well as its contents.
Am I Required to Have Flood Insurance?
If you live in an area that is a designated flood zone, you will need to have flood insurance. However, it is important to keep in mind that flooding can also happen inland, even if you are not near a major river.
If your house is in a location where it could be flooded by an overflowing pond or other body of water, water running down a hill, or melting snow, a flood insurance policy might be a good idea. One fifth of flood damage claims originate in homes that are in areas considered to have a low to moderate risk of flooding.
What Does the Policy Cover?
National flood insurance comes from the federal government and is sold through licensed insurance agents. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will allow you to insure your home for up to $250,000 and its contents for up to $100,000. This insurance covers damages and loss resulting from flooding with an external cause, such as heavy rains, snowstorms, overflowing levees, or storm drains.
NFIP covers permanent installations in the home, such as:
- Building structure and foundation
- Plumbing and electrical systems
- Built-in appliances
- Permanently installed flooring and paneling
- Detached garages
In addition to permanent installations, flood insurance policies cover costs of damages and losses to personal property, such as:
- Window treatments necessary after flood damage
It is also possible to buy private flood insurance if the NFIP policy maximums are not sufficient to cover your assets. A private policy will often provide broader coverage with higher limits than the NFIP policy.
What Does the Policy Not Cover?
One big category that is not included in an NFIP flood policy is finished basements. Landscaping and exterior features like trees, plants, decks, patios, swimming pools, septic systems, and wells are also not included in these policies. Other excluded categories are paper currency, stock certificates, vehicles, and precious metals.
These policies also do not cover your living expenses should your home become unlivable due to flooding. While a standard homeowner’s policy may include this for other types of disasters, it will not apply to flooding.
It is also worth noting that there is usually a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to take effect, which means that waiting until a storm is on its way to buy insurance is a bad idea.
Reach Out to the Personal Insurance Brokerage
No matter where you live, flood insurance offers protection to your home and belongings when a natural disaster strikes your area. If you would like to learn more about the types of flood insurance available for your home, reach out to the flood insurance experts at Merchant Family Agency. Please give us a call at 407.707.6418 or request a quote online today.