Does Home Insurance Cover Flood Damage?
Sustaining significant property damage due to flooding is one of the biggest nightmares that a homeowner can face. Homeowners who find themselves in this situation will also find that they have many questions that they need answers to regarding what to do next. Beyond this, it is important for a homeowner to understand what types of flood damage, if any, might be covered by their home insurance policy.
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One of the most common questions that homeowners have pertaining to flooding is related to insurance coverage. Does home insurance cover flood damage? This is a question that homeowners routinely ask.
The reality is that standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Many property owners choose to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program to take care of this gap in coverage.
Understanding what is classified as flood damage is one of the most important things that you can do as a homeowner when it comes to your insurance coverage. It is important to be able to differentiate between water damage and flood damage. These two terms are often closely interconnected, but there are also some key differences to consider.
Water Damage – This type of damage is generally caused by water that originated from your home’s plumbing, a roof leak, a faulty appliance, an air conditioning unit or other similar sources.
Flood Damage – Flood damage is a type of water damage that is specific to natural sources of water. Flooding is generally caused by a natural disaster such as a major storm, heavy downpours of rain, or a hurricane. In some cases, it is also considered to be flooding if the damage was caused by a sump pump failure, an ongoing roof leak, or a flash flood.
The following information addresses this topic of home insurance coverage for flood damage in further detail. These are key details that today’s homeowners need to be aware of when they find themselves asking does home insurance cover flood damage.
Is Rain Damage Considered Flood Damage?
Water damage caused by rain is one of the points that homeowners are often unsure of when it comes to the question does home insurance cover flood damage. It is a fact that rain can cause significant water damage to your property. At the same time, rain damage is not considered to be the same thing as flood damage.
Insurance companies consider it to be a storm rather than a flood that caused the property damage in this case. For it to be considered flood damage, it has to be damage that was caused directly by a flood event. With these points in mind, it is now worth looking at what homeowners insurance does and does not cover in a flood.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover in a Flood?
It is important for homeowners to understand what is and is not covered in a flood. The first point to note here is the fact that standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. This type of insurance coverage will often cover some types of rain damage but it will not cover flooding caused by natural disasters from overflown rivers, lakes, streams, or ocean water. For homeowners that want protection against flood damage, the best move is to take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program is federally regulated and includes these options:
- An insurance policy that will cover up to $100 thousand in personal property damage from flooding
- An insurance policy that covers your home up to $250 thousand
It is also worth noting that homeowners that take out a mortgage on a property that is considered high risk for flooding will often be required to take out insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Those who take out the personal property policy as a part of the NFIP receive coverage that includes:
- Washing machines and dryers
- Frozen food contained in your freezer
- Carpet that is not covered under a building policy
- Window air conditioners
- Coverage up to $2,500 for fur, works of art, and other valuables
Taking advantage of the home coverage policy from the NFIP includes coverage such as:
- Water heaters
- Window blinds
- The home and its foundation
- HVAC equipment
- Installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
- Detached garages
- Kitchen appliances
- Permanently installed features such as bookcases, paneling, cabinets, and wallboard
What Flood Insurance Does Not Cover?
It is important to know what is not covered by flood insurance as well. Items that are not covered under flood insurance policies include:
- Additional living expenses
- Financial losses from interruptions to business operations
- Damages from mildew, mold, and moisture that is not caused by the flood itself
- Earth movement damage
- Loss of use or access to the property that is insured under the policy
- Self-propelling vehicles and their working parts
- Precious metals
- Stock certificates
- Property that is outside of an insured building (fences, walks, wells, trees, septic systems, pools, hot tubs, etc.)
What Insurance Can I Claim for Water Damage?
Just as it is important to know does home insurance cover flood damage, you will also want to be aware of what you can claim as water damage to your property when you suffer damages caused by a leak or storm. The types of water damage that are generally covered by insurance include:
- Damage from an accidental or sudden discharge of water
- Accidental sewer overflows or backups
- Water damage from a storm
These are the types of water damage that you can generally claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy as opposed to your specific flood insurance policy.
The most important thing to remember when water or flood damage occurs is that you want to get plenty of photographic evidence of the damage. You also want to act quickly on bringing in the services of qualified water and flood damage professionals such as our team here at ServiceMaster Fire & Water Damage Restoration. We are the Lexington, KY area experts that you can count on when your property has suffered damage from water and flooding. We would be happy to provide you more information if you leave us a message or give us a call at (859) 309-9964.