Did you know that in the event of a flood, your house, car, truck or motorcycle are NOT covers with your regular Home Insurance Policy? Flooding happens to be Americas #1 disaster. It can flood anywhere it rains, and if your house or property happens to be in a flood zone, consider the extra coverage to ease your mind.
How Do I Obtain Flood Insurance?
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies can be purchased through thousands of insurance agents nationwide. The agent who helps you with your homeowners or renters insurance may also be able to help you with purchasing flood insurance. Here is a list of participating Write Your Own (WYO) companies.
What You Should Know About Your Insurance:
- Does my community participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)? Flood insurance from the NFIP is only available in participating communities, but most communities do participate. Your agent can tell you if your state and community participate, or you can look it up online in the Community Status Book.
- What flood zone do I live in? What is my property’s flood risk?
- It typically takes 30 days from the day you purchase flood insurance for the policy to go into effect. When purchasing a policy, ask your agent when coverage will start.
- Is flood insurance mandatory for my property?
- Do I qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP)?
- Does my community participate in the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS)? If so, does my home qualify for a CRS rating discount?
- Will the federal government back my flood insurance policy?
- How much coverage should I get for my building and for my contents?
- How can I reduce the cost of my flood insurance?
- Are there additional expenses or agency fees?
- Will my policy provide Replacement Cost Value or Actual Cash Value — and what’s the difference between the two?
- Who should I call if I have a flood claim?
What’s Covered with my Flood Insurance Policy?
Contents are not covered by a building/structure flood policy. To cover your belongings or contents within a building, you’ll need to add contents coverage to your existing building/structure policy.
- The cause of the flooding matters. Damage caused by a sewer backup is only covered by flood insurance if it’s a direct result of flooding; the damage is not covered if the backup is caused by some other problem.
- Contents and building coverage are purchased separately (for the Preferred Risk Policy, there’s an option for combination coverage for both contents and building coverage), but there are always separate deductibles. Unless you have contents coverage, your flood-damaged contents are not covered.
It may be a good idea to purchase coverage for the building (the structure) and its contents. Each has a deductible. Building coverage only covers the structure, so you should consider getting coverage for the items inside the property too (contents coverage).
Examples of Building Coverage that are Included:
- The electrical and plumbing systems
- Furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps and sump pumps
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
- Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets. The damage must be directly caused by flood water. Cabinets that were not damaged by flood water are not covered, even if they match cabinets that were damaged by flood water.
- Window blinds
- 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. Up to 10 percent of the building coverage limit can be used, but will reduce the total amount of building coverage available.
- Cisterns and the water in them
- Fuel tanks and the fuel in them, solar energy equipment and well water tanks and pumps
Examples of Contents Coverage that are Included:
- Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
- Portable and window air conditioners (easily moved or relocated)
- Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
- Carpets not included in building coverage (carpet installed over wood floors, etc.)
- Laundry washers and dryers
- Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
- Food freezers and the food in them (but not refrigerators)
What is Not Covered for Building or Personal Property?
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner or which are 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 (see Section IV.5 in your policy)
What should I know about deductibles?
As with other insurance plans, a higher deductible will lower the premium you pay but will also reduce your claim payment, meaning you will need to cover the difference out of your own pocket. Sometimes a mortgage lender will set a maximum amount for your deductible.
What is the 30-day Waiting Period?
Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase until your policy goes into effect. Here are the exceptions:
- If a building is newly designated in the high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and you purchase flood insurance within the 13-month period following a map revision, there is a 1-day waiting period.
- If you purchase flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending or renewing your mortgage loan, there is no waiting period.
- If you select additional insurance as an option on your insurance policy renewal bill, there is no waiting period.
- If a property is affected by flooding on burned federal land and the policy is purchased within 60 days of the fire-containment date, there may be no waiting period. Waiving of the waiting period is determined at the time of claim.
What is an Elevation Certificate (EC) & why would I need one?
Your insurance agent may ask you for an Elevation Certificate (EC). This certificate verifies your building’s elevation compared to the estimated height floodwaters will reach in a major flood in a high-risk flood area.
A property owner in a high-risk flood area always has the right to purchase an EC, which may reduce your flood insurance premium. Please contact a licensed insurance agent for further information.
Feel free to email us or give us a call for more information!