April showers bring May flowers…and sometimes severe storms & flooding! But just because you have a Homeowners policy, doesn’t mean you have flood coverage. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the difference between a Flood vs a Homeowners insurance policy. Coverage for flood events can be dependent on what caused the damage. Your Homeowners policy will usually cover structural damage caused by “sudden and accidental” events that occur inside your home. This would apply to situations like a burst pipe or broken washing machine. Some personal belongings could also have coverage, depending on your personal property limits. Apartment dwellers whose water overflow causes damage to another unit also have coverage! Your Renters insurance liability coverage will likely cover the damage. However, flood damage due to a weather event from outside your home is a completely different matter…
Generally, Homeowners policies don’t cover flooding from rising water levels from hurricanes, rainstorms, snow melt, and other similar events. However, you can purchase a separate Flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you live in a flood zone, Flood insurance may even be a requirement of your mortgage terms. The National Flood Insurance Program has established two types of flood zones:
- High Risk: Homes in these areas are more likely to sustain flood damage. The government requires homeowners to have flood coverage when they have loans from federally regulated or insured lenders.
- Standard Risk Flood policies cover high risk flood zones.
- Low-to-Moderate Risk: Flood insurance isn’t a requirement in these areas, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t desirable. Low-to-moderate risk zones account for 25% of all Flood insurance claims, and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding.
- Preferred Risk Flood policies cover low-to-moderate risk zones at a reduced cost.
You can visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information on the types of flood risks in your area so you can best prepare.When under a flood warning, find safe shelter as quickly as possible! Do not ever swim, walk, or drive through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of water to knock a person from their feet and only a foot of water to seep away a vehicle. Additionally, it is best to stay away from bridges over fast moving water, and always evacuate when told to do so.
Make sure your family is signed up for your community’s warning system. Additionally, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Your family should have an evacuation plan that is practiced, especially if you have young children. When act risk for active flooding, gather supplies ahead of time so that you are already prepared if you are told to evacuate. Keep in mind each individual’s needs, primarily in regards to medication and other health issues. Keep important documents and other critical items in a waterproof container. Lastly, get Flood insurance – remember, your Homeowners policy doesn’t provide weather-event flooding coverage! Check out these other flood safety tips!