Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Homeowners flood insurance is often nuanced and difficult to understand. For many the insurance they thought they had should flooding occur actually didn’t exist. If you believe you need flood insurance to provide the protection against flooding than continue reading as we will describe the reasons that possibly may indicate you do not. You may discover you need flood insurance in the event that community flooding occurs as this is different than water damage that happens in the home.
The aftermath of hurricane Katrina brought this subject of flood insurance to the forefront as many hundreds of homeowners attempted to file claims and were subsequently denied. They were convinced their worries over cost of repairs would be offset through insurance, but they were disappointed to learn they did not have insurance for this type of flooding.
Hurricane Katrina is just one of the many natural disasters that have occurred, causing thousands of homeowners to lose their homes due to flooding. Knowing, for certain, whether or not your home is insured against flooding should be a priority for all homeowners. If it is not you will need flood insurance to help cover the cost for rebuilding should your home become victim to community flooding.
Things to Know About Homeowners Insurance
There is a difference between water damage in the home and flooding that is caused by nature. Water damages, such as happens when a water pipe breaks, hot water heater burst or toilets overflow are sudden events that happen in the home and are usually covered in a homeowner’s policy. This type of damage is often listed in the policy and is under the dwelling protection. From the standpoint of the insurance carrier, municipal water that is part of the function of the home and when it creates flooding in the property would be part of the home.
Water Damage and Flooding are Considered Different
When water damage exist properties will need a water damage restoration company to remove the standing water, cleanup and set up equipment for drying such as air movers and dehumidifiers. Once complete structural drying has happened then the repairs can begin to rebuild the damaged home. This type of flooding is typically covered in a homeowner’s insurance policy and will allow funds for the water mitigation process and the repairs. This is not what the insurance companies recognize as flooding.
Flooding is when a property is suddenly assaulted from water without the home itself and makes it unlivable. That is drastically different than water damage from within the home from municipal water you pay for each month.
Flooding that destroys property with water from outside the home is caused from high water from external forces and are not spelled out in a policy. If it is not specifically stated in the policy that you are protected against such events, chances are you are not protected. Many homeowners simply assume that they are covered for flooding events when, in fact, they are not.
Reading Your Insurance Policy for Coverage
There is only one way to know for certain if your home is covered for flooding and that is to read your insurance contract. Your homeowner’s policy should state what you are protected against and if you do not find community flooding you will need flood insurance to sleep soundly at night. If you read through your policy and do not see any reference to flooding, it is not covered. As mentioned earlier these documents are difficult to understand and a conversation with your agent could be helpful. Prepare several questions to address to make sure you are satisfied you have had all your questions answered.
Are You Covered for Basement flooding?
Flooded basement cleanup is very common in the Southeast Michigan communities. Drains backup after heavy rains, water heaters can leak and any water damage from a level above will ultimately deluge down to affect the basement.
Do you Need Insurance for Community Flooding?
So do you need flood insurance if you do not have it already? That is a question that only you can answer. There are many areas in the country that are “prone to flooding” and are designated as flood zones. If your property is in one of these locations known to flood you would be much better off having the insurance to help rebuild your home after flooding, should it happen.
Those who live near any body of water (lakes, rivers, dams, oceans) should consider having insurance in the event a natural disaster happens. Heavy rains can force water out of their areas and cause flooding at any time. You need to be protected against financial ruin if your home is decimated and becomes uninhabitable.
Those Who Need Flood Insurance
If you want to add flood insurance to your property but cannot find it available in your area or for your home, you can go online and research the federal programs that are set up for this. You may find that in some areas that are prone to flooding, many insurance carriers do not want to add new policies. This is where the federal program FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) can be very helpful.
FEMA provides flood insurance to those in flood zones and locations that are prone to disasters related to flooding. According to FEMA, floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. and flooding can manifest anywhere in the country. The small added cost of flood insurance is an investment well worth taking on as this can be the difference between losing your home and keeping it should flooding occur in your area.
FEMA offers a very useful, interactive website that can help you decide if you need this insurance or not and can help you decide on how much insurance you need. This is a very good place to begin your research.