Flood Coverage... Do You Need It?
Two insurance policies deal with a homeowner's damage due to water -- a flood insurance policy and a homeowners insurance policy. Losses not covered by one of these policies may be covered by the other. Understanding how your home may be affected by water can help you decide whether you need one or both policies. While insurance policies may differ in the coverage provided from homeowner to homeowner, some basic features are common to all policies. Be sure to ask your insurance agent or insurance company about the specifics of your insurance policy. In the meantime, the Insurance Information Network of California offers the following general information based on standard insurance policies.
As the name implies, a standard flood insurance policy written by the National Flood Insurance Program provides coverage up to the policy limit for damage caused by a flood. The dictionary defines "flood" as the rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word "rising" in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage. Generally, damage caused by water on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered flood damage. A handful of examples of flood damage include:
- A nearby river overflows and washes into your home.
- Heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can't absorb the water quickly enough.
- A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.
The only way to insure flood damage is with a flood insurance policy -- no other insurance will cover flood damage. Flood insurance is available through your insurance agent, insurance company, or local Federal Emergency Management Office (FEMA). Contact your county planning office to determine if your home is in a flood plain. If you reside in a flood plain, flood insurance may be an excellent option to protect your home.
A homeowners insurance policy will not provide flood damage coverage, but it does provide many types of water damage coverage. When water causes significant damage to your home before it comes in contact with the ground, your homeowner's insurance policy may cover the cost of mitigation and repairs. A few examples of water damage include:
- A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain-free access into your home.
- Heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
- A broken water pipe spews water into your home.
Your homeowner's insurance policy may not cover flood or water damage, but if a water or flood loss leads to other losses, such as theft or fire damage, your policy may cover it. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your furnishings after you evacuate, the theft would be covered by your homeowner's insurance because it is a result of the water damage. However, the flood damage is only covered if you have flood insurance.
When dealing with water or flood damage, always contact your insurance provider for policy details, then call SERVPRO®. We are always Here to Help® with your fire and water disaster needs!