Flooding can cause serious damage to structures and property, which is why flood insurance is important. Some natural disasters are covered under standard homeowners insurance policies, but flood damage is not. Some homeowners do not realize the importance of flood insurance, which should be considered by all homeowners, even if they do not live in a floodplain.
In the United States, floods are the most common natural disaster to cause damage to homes. They often occur in areas far from waterways, and can be caused by heavy snowmelt, sudden torrential rainfall and new construction that reduces the amount of land available to absorb heavy rains. A flood insurance policy is the best protection against flood damage.
Insured mortgage lenders require flood insurance for properties that lie within designated high-risk flood zones. Flood insurance is not a requirement for homes in low or moderate-risk flood zones, but it is still available and should be strongly considered. Homes in low or moderate-risk flood zones could be eligible for a low-cost preferred risk policy.
There are three forms of flood insurance: Dwelling (the most common), general property (for apartment buildings and businesses, for example) and residential condominium building association (condominiums). The following items will typically be covered under a standard flood insurance policy:
- Structural damage to the building and its foundation
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Furnace, water heater and central air conditioner
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
- Flood debris cleanup
Flood insurance policies are also available to cover the contents of your home, including personal items, clothing, furniture and other valuable items.
Nearly 80 percent of the homes in the United States that are at risk for floods are not covered by flood insurance. Floods are typically isolated to a few areas and few insurance carriers offer flood insurance. Companies cannot spread the risk over a wide enough population to absorb the potential loss, creating an unacceptable risk in some cases.
It is important to purchase flood insurance before a storm comes. Policies typically do not take effect until 30 days after the purchase.
You don’t have to live near a lake, river, or other body of water to benefit from the protection of flood insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance policy can protect you against many unexpected risks, but you may be surprised to find that flooding and many forms of water damage aren’t typically covered by your homeowner’s insurance. This means you could be left paying for the high-cost of repairs if your home and belongings are damaged by heavy rains, rising rivers, or many other causes of water damage.
If heavy rainfall, melting snow, severe weather, or broken water main brought water into your home, the damage could be extensive. The cost of replacing carpeting, hardwood flooring, and even furniture can add up fast. And that’s just the beginning. Even the smallest amount of moisture can lead to the biggest of problems. Mold can begin to spread in a moist environment in as little as 36 hours, and often requires professional removal and cleanup to protect your family’s health.
When you have flood insurance, you won’t have to worry about the high costs of cleanup, repairs, and replacement if your home is damaged by water.
What Flood Insurance Covers
Flood insurance protects your home and belongings from physical water damage. Flood insurance coverage typically includes:
- Physical structure and foundation of your home
- HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems installed in your home
- Hardwood, carpeting, and other flooring
- Bookcases, cabinets, and other built-in furniture
- Personal property such as clothing, electronics, and furniture
- Furs, original artwork, and other valuables
Flood Insurance: An Affordable Option
The benefits of flood insurance are so widespread, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance policies with nationally set rates to ensure this important coverage is affordable for everyone. Your rates will remain consistent, no matter who your insurance provider may be.
Flood insurance is the perfect addition to your homeowner’s insurance coverage. While flood protection won’t take the place of adequate homeowner’s insurance, together the two policies offer a strong defense against the most common risks facing your home, belongings, and family.
Talk with the experts at McGovern Insurance about a flood insurance policy. Please call us at (650) 593-8216.