Floods can happen anywhere and without warning. 25% of homes with flood claims each year are in low risk zones just like yours. Give yourself and your family the peace of mind of knowing that they are protected should a flood happen. Remember: you are more likely to experience a flood than a fire!
Flooding occurs when water from outside your structure rises and causes damage to your property and at least one other property. The source of the water can be an overflow of inland or tidal waters, the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source or mudflow.
In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties. For example, damage caused by a sewer backup is covered if the backup is a direct result of flooding. If the sewer backup is not caused directly by flooding, the damage is not covered.
Floods normally come from three basic sources:
- Storm surge, which backs up rivers and causes tidal waters to inundate the coastal areas;
- Heavy rains that causes flash flooding or overcomes the normal drainage systems in an area; and
- Flooding from rivers or large bodies of water. Flooding can also be caused by failure of man-made flood defenses such as dams, levees, or dikes.
Floods can occur at any time. Flood zones are set up via flood plains and are used as guidance on how frequent flooding is likely to occur. A “100-year flood plain,” for example, has a 0.1% chance of flooding in any given year. This classification, however, is based on a statistical basis of thousands of years. This means every thousand years this area will flood 10 times; when such floods will occur, however, is left to chance. You could have three 100-year floods within a five-year period. As our climate changes, historical data isn’t always a reliable predictor of future events.
Flood can cause extensive damage to your home’s structure as well as your personal items. Depending on the depth of water, there can be substantial tear-out needed. If you live in a place where there was a high-velocity flow, floods can damage your foundation. Flood insurance provides homeowners with the financial capability to take quick action and reduce the damage to their home. Homeowners can purchase up to $250,000 in coverage for their home and up to $100,000 for their personal belongings in their home. Commercial property owners can purchase coverage limits of up to $500,000 for their building and $500,000 for their contents in their building.
All homes, regardless of flood zone, are at risk of flooding. Over the last five years every state has experienced flooding. Consider these 4 facts:
- FEMA advises that just one inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 in damage
- More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside of high-risk flood zones
- Only 20% of impacted homeowners from Hurricane Harvey had flood insurance
- Federal Disaster assistance comes in the form of loans that must be paid back with interest and FEMA grants that provide about $5,000 average per household. By comparison, the average flood claim in 2017 was more than $90,000
Water damage restoration or water mitigation costs can vary greatly. The following are average costs by type of water damage:
- Category 1 Clean Water: $3.75 per square foot
- Category 2 Gray Water: $4.50 per square foot
- Category 3 Black Water: $7.00 per square foot
There are a number of factors that go into calculating water mitigation costs. Temperature, humidity, type of materials impacted, length of time water stayed in place, and the possibility of mold cleanup can all impact cost. It is prudent to be cautious and check references when selecting a contractor to do water damage repair work. Talk to you adjuster about the best approach to take.
Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding.
Ask your insurance agent about your coverage.
The difference between what is covered under the homeowner’s insurance and what is covered under this policy really depends on what caused the flooding. If the flooding is an accumulation of surface water from outside your property, you will need a separate flood policy. If it is natural water entering from an opening in the roof, walls, or windows or if the water is processed tap water that leaks from your water pipes or appliances (water heater, washer), it should be covered under most homeowners policies.
There are two basic coverage types provided by a flood policy. Building coverage covers the structure and utilities of a property. Contents coverage covers the items that you own, such as clothes, furniture, appliances, etc. If you rent your home you can purchase coverage for your contents. You will need to check with your landlord to see if they have any flood coverage for their structure.
If you have a government-backed mortgage, you will need to cover at least the balance on your loan amount up to the $250,000 limit. Talk to your insurance agent about the value of your home and insuring appropriately for a significant loss, which may exceed the loan value. Our risk score can give you an idea of the probability of loss.
The amount you pay for your policy is calculated based on factors such as:
when the building was constructed, how it is occupied (residential, commercial, or a mix of the two), how many floors it has, the foundation of the building, where a building’s contents are located, the building’s flood risk, and your coverage amounts and deductible.
Check out FEMA’s Summary of Coverage. This coverage applies to policies issued under the government-backed NFIP program. Talk to your agent to determine if you have an NFIP policy, or a policy that is issued by a private insurer, which may have different coverage.
This is a partnership between insurance companies and the government. This partnership allows private insurance companies to sell public flood insurance issued by the government to property owners nationwide.
The CRS Discount is calculated based on the Community’s efforts to reduce the risk of flooding. CRS discounts are shown on a flood quote/policy. You can find out if your Community participates by looking at the Community Rating System guide.
Check with your agent to ensure that your policy is rated correctly. Mitigation efforts such as structural improvements (elevating your home, installing flood vents, elevating machinery & equipment that’s below the Base Flood Elevation) may provide additional savings, consider higher deductible(s) and ensure you have sufficient policy limits.
Find out other ways to reduce the cost of your flood insurance premiums at FloodSmart.gov
When voluntarily purchased, your flood policy will have a 30-day waiting period. Here are the only exceptions:
- If a building is located in a newly-designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), and flood insurance is being purchased within the 13-month period following a map revision.
- If you purchase flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending or renewing your mortgage loan.
- If an additional amount of insurance is selected as an option on the renewal bill.
- If a property is affected by flooding on burned federal land that is a result of, or is exacerbated by, post-wildfire conditions when the policy is purchased within 60 days of the fire containment date.
You can get flood insurance for your rental property if you live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You can get flood insurance to cover the contents of your home, apartment or business.
A Preferred Risk Policy provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate- to low-risk areas for one low price as long as the property meets eligibility requirements based on the building’s entire flood loss history. Premiums start at $183.00 per year.
You can cancel your policy if you sell your house. You simply need to provide a signed cancellation form and legal documentation such as your settlement paperwork showing the title transfer of your property to the company that sold you your flood insurance policy.
Another option would be for the buyer to assume the sellers current flood policy. Check with your agent to see if this is a possibility.
Get in touch with your agent who will submit a request form with proper documentation to the insurer.
There are 26 reason codes that you can use to cancel a policy with different business requirements attached. Here is the complete guide: How to Cancel
Mudflow is defined as: “A river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water.” Other earth movements, such as landslide, slope failure, or a saturated soil mass moving by liquidity down a slope, are not mudflows. Mudflow is normally defined in layman’s terms as flow of milkshake consistency.