Unfortunately, most Americans do not already have flood insurance included in their traditional homeowners’ policies. Even if your home is not located in a hazardous flood zone, certain acts of nature can occur at a moment’s notice which can lead to structural damage, property damage of furniture and other household items, and even the potentially deadly onset of mold and mildew growth.
People who live in coastal communities are well aware of the possibility of tidal surges they can easily occur during hurricane season, and residents whose homes are located near rivers and lakes might also have already considered purchasing flood insurance. But did you know that even the normal city dweller who does not live anywhere near a flood zone can easily incur water damage from something as simple as a backed up city storm drain? If you are not already covered in your current homeowners’ insurance policy, the financial effects could be devastating.
Typical Flood Insurance Coverage
Homeowner’s insurance for flood and water damage can be easily acquired for very little cost, and the benefits and peace of mind provided by this extra coverage can often be priceless. A typical flood insurance policy will cover the various types of damage that can be caused by naturally overflowing waterways or the rapid accumulation of other types of surface water. Even damage due to mud is covered in many policies.
- Structural property damage
- Damage of electrical and plumbing systems
- Damage to heating and air-conditioning systems
- Cabinetry, kitchen appliances, and wood flooring damage
- Carpet repair and damage
- Unavoidable mold or mildew growth that results from excessive water
- Removal of debris and trash
- And much, much more.
Lower Risk Properties
Even if your home happens to be located inside or near a flood zone, do not assume that your insurance provider will automatically include flood insurance into your standard homeowners’ policy. It is not usually required, in most states. However, this insurance can be easily purchased for a very modest fee.
Even if your home is located in an area that is deemed to be “lower risk”, you should still consider purchasing this extra coverage. Nearly 25% of all insurance claims due to flood are actually placed by homeowners in these low to moderate risk properties.
Some of the standard homeowners insurance policies do include a minimal amount of flood insurance, whether you happen to live in a flood zone or not. So whether you live in Warner Robins GA or San Diego CA, just be sure to ask your insurance agent before signing the policy and paying your monthly premiums. In many cases, a “single peril” coverage clause may be secretly hidden inside your existing policy. This would cover water damage due to natural flooding, such as melting snow, dam or levee failures, storm surges, heavy rains, and perhaps blocked storm drains as well. However, in most cases the damage has to meet a certain threshold of intensity in order for the flood insurance policy to kick in. For example, the policy may require that two or more properties located within the same area must have been equally affected by the excessive waters. Or perhaps several acres of land must be affected in order for the policy to become active. For those consumers who take the time to do upfront research before the flood waters hit, the savings could be considerable.
A key is to check with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to find out the latest flood zone rules for your area as the changes have been fast and furious this past year. For instance, some areas of Florida were just given a homeowner’s insurance price raise reprieve until 2015. Congress is still looking at other areas, and various measures to assist with the price increases, so expect more changes later this year.