Floods are the most devastating natural disaster in the United States each year causing billions in losses and displacing thousands. While flooding is a common concern for those near rivers and streams, all homes in the United States can be caught off-guard by floods. When it comes to flood insurance, it is important to understand what flood insurance is and what is covered. Many people think flood insurance is anything to do with water in their home. This is far from the truth. Floods are defined as surface water that enters your home from the outside – not to be confused with a leaky roof or a broken pipe, loose toilet or other plumbing related issue. Another issue altogether is sewer backup which may or may not be covered depending on what caused it to occur.
Flood Insurance Options
Flood insurance covers your property and contents from damages that occur when water from outside the home enters the home. Be it a heavy rainstorm, a clogged drain in the street or even a hurricane that causes a tidal surge that backs up streams and rivers.
- Cost: According to floodsmart.gov, the average flood insurance policy costs around $700 a year. Depending on your area and whether you’re in a flood prone area, your costs can be higher or lower.
- What’s covered: The typical flood insurance policy will cover your building and the contents. Be sure to discuss contents coverage with your agent to ensure you have enough coverage. The price of the policy will be largely determined by how valuable your items are and how much coverage you need.
When to buy Flood Insurance
Flood insurance requires a 30 day waiting period so don’t wait until a major storm is announced as you will not be eligible for coverage.
If you do experience a flood claim and have flood insurance, keep these things in mind:
- Report your claim as soon as possible and have open and frequent communication with your insurance adjuster.
- Photograph your damages (great if you have before pictures also saved to the cloud, not on a computer hard drive). Your insurance company will likely come out and photograph the damages as well.
- Keep a list of all of the items you lost in the flood. Receipts are great as well as lists.
- Take a read through your policy to ensure you understand your rights and coverage.