Homeowners Policies and Flood Coverage – Understanding What’s Protected
Whenever hurricanes threaten the coasts, homeowners begin to scour their insurance policies to see if they have coverage for water damage. While many believe their homeowner’s insurance will cover flood damage, this is an erroneous assumption. Homeowners need to invest in a separate policy to cover flood and water damage. While many homeowners associate flood damage with total loss, this is rarely the case. Most flood claims average around $40,000. Below are several other facts about flood insurance homeowners need to know.
All Homeowners Can Buy Flood Insurance
While homes in flood-prone areas are more likely to experience water damage, this does not mean homes farther inland are risk-free. Flooding can come from several sources, and homeowners should weigh the risks before foregoing flood insurance. Homeowners should also bear in mind that flood claims are one of the most common.
Some homeowners do not have a choice regarding flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program designates certain areas as hundred year flood zones. If an individual lives in one of these areas and has a federally backed mortgage, the program requires them to invest in flood insurance.
Homeowner’s Policy Coverage and Exclusions
Homeowner’s insurance policies are not devoid of water damage coverage. For example, if a hurricane blows out windowpanes or knocks a tree onto a home, a homeowner’s policy would cover that damage. Homeowner’s insurance covers any water damage related to the above examples as well. However, such policies rarely cover wind-driven rain damage under any other circumstances. Homeowner’s policies also exclude any damages as a result of water coming from the ground such as ocean waves.
Flood Insurance Coverage and Exclusions
Even if a homeowner invests in flood insurance, there are still some limitations. For example, flood policies take 30 days to go into effect. This means a homeowner cannot rush out to buy flood insurance when they learn of an impending storm. In addition, most policies peak at $350,000; this covers the home ($250,000) and personal belongings ($100,000). If a homeowner needs additional coverage, they will need supplemental policies.
Flood insurance comes with some hefty exclusions as well. Some examples include:
- Below grade living spaces (i.e. basements)
- Pools/hot tubs
- Wells/septic systems
If you live in a flood-prone area and want to learn more about flood insurance, The Reilly Company has you covered. Our insurance agents offer convenient insurance management options including phone consults, online comparison quotes, or an in-person visit. To learn more, contact us today.