Floods are the most common natural disaster in the country. According to FEMA, a mere inch of flood water in your home can result in over $27,000 in property damage! Despite this, homeowner’s insurance does not typically cover damages caused by flooding!
If you’re like most Americans, your home is your most valuable asset. Therefore, protecting the value of your home and its contents is crucial. If flooding is a concern to you and your family, it’s important to know that flood insurance coverage can help pay for repairs to your home and repairs to or replacement of damaged items within your home in the event of a flood or a hurricane.
Common Post-Disaster Expenses
Mold: Mold is a hazard to both people and property and can spread over any material that stays wet for more than two days.
Sewage contamination: Rising floodwater is usually contaminated with bacteria, chemicals, and debris.
Gas and electric lines: Floods can move damaged natural gas lines, and exposure to moisture can cause corrosion to wiring and other metals.
Building foundations: Flooding can shift or separate foundations, causing structural damage to walls and floors
Wood structures: Wood swells when wet, so it may warp or split, particularly around door or window frames. Processed wood products lose strength or structural integrity.
Roof: High winds can cause damage to or loss of shingles, underlayment, roof decking, chimneys and turbine vents.
Ceilings: High winds and rain can lead to roof leaks and ceiling damage or collapse; leaks in walls; wet insulation; window and door leaks.
Windows and doors: Damage to or pop-out of windows and doors—especially sliding glass doors—is particularly common with flooding and high wind scenarios.
Add-on structures: Screen rooms, patios, garages, and other add-on structures are prone to collapse during severe weather events.
Flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) typically offers coverage of up to $250,000 toward the cost of rebuilding or replacing your home, which falls under “building property” coverage. This includes insurance for your physical home and its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, built-in kitchen appliances, wallboard and paneling, carpeting, permanent cabinets and bookcases, window blinds, detached garages and debris removal.
In addition to the cost of the home itself, flooding causes calamitous losses to personal property. Clothing, electronics, appliances, and furniture are often lost or ruined beyond hope of repair. The NFIP policy covers $100,000 for belongings lost in a flood. For a household of four or more, that price can quickly exceed the $100,000 limit.
What Isn’t Covered under NFIP
NFIP standard flood insurance does not typically cover:
Basements or other area that has its floor below ground level on all sides
Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that was not caused by floodwater
Precious metals, stock certificates, bearer bonds, or cash
Features outside your home, such as trees, septic systems, walkways, decks and patios, fences, hot tubs or swimming pools
Loss of income
Private Flood Insurance
Private and excess flood insurance goes above and beyond the standard coverage limits of the NFIP. Depending on the policy, excess coverage can cover the total cost of rebuilding a home of any size or expense. It can also cover the cost to replace stand-alone contents that may be valued above the NFIP limits.
The program also covers funding for your family's living expenses to help you through the transition process. If you have to temporarily relocate, private insurance may provide for short-term housing. Depending on the policy, you could also potentially purchase coverage for items or areas not covered through NFIP.
Flood insurance is the primary financial resource for most homeowners when it comes to rebuilding or repairing damages caused by flooding. If you’ve been affected by flood damages, be sure to review your policies and their limits before starting recovery efforts. Be sure to take photos, and contact your insurance company promptly to report your damages.
Related Reading: Recovering from Flood Damage: A How-To Guide
No one wants to experience the stress or trauma of flood damage, but the important thing to remember is that as long as you and your family are safe, most "things" can be replaced by your flood insurance coverage.
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