Sometimes it’s not until after a flood that we learn our homeowners insurance does not cover damages to our home. As homeowners, we need to be educated on what is included in all your home policies. The following information can assist you in purchasing flood insurance for your property.
Is Purchasing Flood Insurance Right for Me?
Whether you need or do not need flood insurance in some cases can be up to you. But there are certain situations where purchasing flood insurance is mandatory. Communities prone to flooding participate in NFIP if they have implemented a floodplain management and make living in these areas less affected by flood damage. Through this program, homeowners will not be encouraged to live in high risk flooding communities without taking precautions first.
- Purchasing flood insurance for your home is mandatory if there is a federally-backed mortgage in a high risk flood area.
- It is your decision when purchasing flood insurance if you inherite a home or your mortgage is paid off.
- If your home in in a community that participates in NFIP you can purchase coverage through private insurance companies.
- You may still be able to purchase flood coverage if you live outside an area participating in NFIP but this tends to be expensive.
You can visit FEMA’s website to locate flood maps for your area just by entering your address in the box provided.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) building property policy covers the cost to rebuild or the actual value of your home this includes:
- Home and foundation
- Electrical, plumbing, HVAC equipment and kitchen appliances
- Permanently installed carpeting, wallboard and window blinds
- Detached garages, debris removal and water heater
- Personal property such as clothing, furniture, electronic equipment and up to $2,500 in valuables
What Exclusions Should I Look For?
As other insurance policies, flood coverage for your property comes with some exclusions that you should be aware of.
- Earth movement caused by a flood will not cover the loss of property in the event there is a landslide, sinkholes and movement of land due to water accumulation or erosion.
- Flood insurance does not cover additional temporary living expenses when you cannot stay in your home or loss of use.
- Property and belongings outside of your insured home such as plants, septic systems, decks, hot tubs and swimming pools.
- Coverage does not extend to furnished areas below ground level or if damages exceed $250,000.
What Can I Do Before a Storm Hits?
There are a few steps, as a homeowner, you can follow to protect your home before a storm happens. You can use sandbags to protect your home and also by moving contents above ground level. You can also read over your flood insurance to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for your home. Create a home inventory documenting and taking pictures of your personal property as well as you home. In the event a claim is filed having this information on hand will make it much easier for you. It is important to take pictures of your property if it is damaged because of flooding.