Floods and Insurance
What You Should Know About: Protecting Your Home From Flooding
The insurance you buy for your home or apartment likely won't pay for flood damage - but a flood policy could
Three things you should know:
- The most common and costly natural disaster in the United States is flooding, which causes billions in economic losses each year. Just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 worth of damage.
- Damage from floods are not covered by standard Homeowners, Renters or Business Owners insurance policies, but flood coverage is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and some private insurance companies.
- Damage to vehicles caused by flooding is covered by optional Comprehensive Auto Coverage.
Flood danger and damage are real. People living in flood plains are 27 times more likely to experience a flood during their 30-year mortgage than they are to experience a fire. And more than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside of high-risk flood zones, according to FEMA.
Standard Homeowners, Renters and Business Owners insurance policies do not cover flood damage but coverage is available as a separate policy through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers.
What you pay for flood insurance depends on how much flood risk is associated with your home or business. For more details on Flood Insurance protection and rates, call your insurance agent or company. There typically is a 30-day waiting period for a policy from NFIP to become effective, and premiums will include certain fees and surcharges. So, don’t wait until flood conditions are present to inquire about flood protection.
Preparing for a Flood
Never assume your home is completely safe from flooding. The following tips from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are suggested guidelines for action. If you find yourself in a flood situation and do not know what to do, check with your local or state emergency management agency.
1. Review your Homeowners, Renters or Business owner’s insurance policy to make sure you understand what’s covered and what is not under the limits of your policy.
2. If you believe you might be at risk for flooding, contact your insurance agent or company about obtaining Flood Insurance coverage through the NFIP. To find out if your home is located in a flood plain, visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
3. Create a home inventory, an itemized list of personal property, including furnishings, clothing, and valuables. Include photographs of your home - inside and out - receipts, contracts and serial numbers. In the event your home is damaged, these will assist your insurance adjuster in settling claims more quickly and will help track any uninsured losses, which are tax deductible. Many insurance companies offer mobile apps to help you track your home inventory.
Personal & Family Safety Tips:
1. Develop a Family Emergency Plan that allows you and your family to evacuate the home in the event of a catastrophe. Choose a nearby location where family members can meet. It is wise to sketch a floor plan and identify safe places where you can quickly get to in case you are unable to leave your home.
2. For your pets, make plans now so you know what to do with your pets if you have to evacuate your residence. Many emergency shelters do not allow pets.
3. Build an Emergency Survival Kit with enough food and water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours. If a major disaster strikes, you may not be able to depend on local authorities to help you. The kit should include such items as: first aid bag, rain gear, flashlights, candles, batteries, blankets, portable radio, basic tools, duct tape, copies of your insurance policies and other important documents, disposable camera.
4. To help protect your home from flooding, consider retrofitting your home. FEMA offers a Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting that will give you guidance and options available to you.
5. Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.
*Some information provided by the Insurance Information Institute