Homeowners’ insurance and renters’ insurance do not cover any damage that is caused by a flood. Everyone should have flood insurance. It’s especially necessary if you live in a designated flood zone or an area that is prone to flooding. It’s always best to make sure you are properly covered with a flood insurance policy.
What is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is a separate entity from homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. It covers damage to your property and personal belongings. Floods can be brutal and cause extensive water damage. You don’t have to live in a designated flood area to be susceptible to floods. Floods result from melting snow, heavy rainfall, and overflowing creeks/ponds. You can be more susceptible to flooding if you live at the base of a hill or in an area with lower terrain.
Because no one knows when a flood will happen, you need a special policy for flood insurance. It is typically offered by the federal government and some private insurers. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to get flood insurance—it has a 30-day wait period before the coverage even takes effect.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Most flood insurance comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of their National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is underwritten by the federal government but is provided by private insurance agencies. This plan covers up to $250,000 in structural damage and up to $100,000 for personal belongings.
NFIP covers however much (up to $250k) money it costs to rebuild your home to its state before damage. Your personal belongings coverage will cover their actual cash value, which is how much they are “worth.” This means you may not get as much as you paid for them if their value has deteriorated. You can also get less money back on furnishings or other items stored in your basement (because the water will accumulate at the lowest point of your home and cause more damage there).
Private Market Flood Insurance
Sometimes the standard flood insurance may not be enough to cover your home or your belongings. You may also need to take out a private market flood insurance plan if you don’t live in an area the NFIP covers. Many of these private insurances are “first-dollar” coverage, meaning they are similar to the coverage provided by the NFIP but it offers higher levels of coverage. This can also be considered excess flood insurance for those who need more coverage.
Water damage can be severe and long-lasting. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be required to have flood insurance. However, it is always a good idea to carry flood insurance protection just in case. Talk to your local insurance agent to discuss the best options for your flood insurance plan.