There are three important points you need to know to better understand flood insurance:
- Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage at all. It will cover some water claims, but if your home is filled with water because of rising bodies of water from lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans, it will not cover you.
- Flood insurance is mostly purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is a federally regulated program with two policies (you can buy one or both):
- One that covers your actual home up to $250,000
- One that covers your personal property up to $100,000
- You might have to buy flood insurance. If you are taking out a mortgage on a property that is in a high-risk zone, your lender will require you to buy a policy in order to get the loan. If you just want to buy a policy, you have to make sure your community participates in the national flood program. Flooding affects every state, so you are probably eligible.
What the Federal Flood Insurance Program Covers
The National Flood Insurance Program building property policy covers the cost to rebuild or the actual value of your home (whichever is less). That includes:
- Your home and its foundation
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- HVAC equipment like air conditioning, furnaces, and water heaters
- Kitchen appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, and built-ins such as your dishwasher
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
- Permanently installed wallboard, paneling, bookcases, and cabinets
- Window blinds
- Detached garages (limited to 10% of your home policy)
- Debris removal
- Water heater
The National Flood Insurance Program policy that covers your personal property will cover items such as listed below:
- Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- Window AC units
- Portable microwaves and dishwashers
- Carpets not covered by your building policy
- Your freezer and frozen food
- Up to $2,500 in valuables, such as art and furs
Note: Personal possession claims are paid on actual cash value, not what you paid.
What Isn’t Covered
Typically, if it belongs in a bank or safe deposit box, it is not covered:
- Precious metals
- Stock certificates
- Bearer bonds
Other items not covered:
- Septic systems
- Hot tubs
- Swimming pools
- Boat houses
- Retaining walls
- Storm shelters
- Temporary housing and other living expenses
- Loss of income
- Post-flood mold damage Sewer backups
Coverage is Limited for Basements
If you have a basement, you will have more risk because the NFIP limits coverage for basements, crawlspaces, or any living space where the floor is below ground level. Even a walkout basement will not be covered for:
- Window treatments
- Carpeting, tile, and other floor coverings
- Some drywall, depending on how far below ground level it is
- Walls and ceilings not made of drywall
- Most personal property such as clothing, electronic equipment, kitchen supplies, and furniture
More About What Qualifies as a Flood
As mentioned earlier, regular homeowners insurance does not cover floods. So when is damage considered to be caused by a flood?
- Water has to cover at least 2 acres of land that’s normally dry, or has to have damaged two or more properties (one being your home).Also, the water has to come from:
- Overflowing inland or tidal waters
- Unusual, rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
- Mudflow (that’s mud carried by a flow of water, creating a river of mud)
Water and seepage that comes from sewer or drain backups, or a sump pump that overflows is not considered a flood.
- Don’t wait for an impending storm to purchase federal flood insurance. There’s usually a 30-day waiting period.
- Make an inventory of the possessions in your home to make filing a claim easier.
If you have questions or want to know if you need flood insurance, give us a call today at Hennessey, Thames and Leavitt in Vicksburg, Ms. We can be reached by phone at 601-636-5560, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or come by and see us at 1001 Belmont Street. Check us out on Facebook or our website leavitt.com/vicksburg.