“Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink.”“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Flood insurance is something you need only if you live within 20 miles of the coast, right?
Nearly all American homes are eligible for flood insurance, even though only a small percentage have coverage. Homes alongside mountain lakes and rivers should consider flood insurance in addition to a regular homeowners policy. In fact, a mortgage lender can require flood insurance if your home is in a flood zone, even if you live in town.
According to a FEMA spokesperson, “Just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage to a home or apartment.” Wouldn’t you rather be covered? Learn more about flood insurance and what kinds of damage it covers.
What is a Flood?
To understand flood insurance, we must first understand what constitutes a “flood.” The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines a flood as a temporary partial or complete inundation of normally dry land from overflow of inland waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters, and mudflows. This inundation can be brought on by landslides, hurricanes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters. However, general homeowners insurance or insurance for other natural disasters (such as earthquake coverage) may not cover flooding as a result of the disaster.
What is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance specifically covers the loss of property from a flood event. Because flood policy rates are determined by the NFIP, coverage may only be available to people in communities that participate in the government program. Typically, insurers will refer to maps of lowlands and floodplains to determine the risk factors for specific properties, and will choose to grant or not grant flood insurance based on that. Home buyers who secure certain types of federal home loans may be required to purchase flood insurance.
What’s the Difference between Flood Insurance and Water Damage?
If you’ve ever worried about leaky basements or burst pipes in the winter, you know that water damage can happen even when natural flooding is not present. Damage caused by water or steam from home plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, or automatic fire extinguishing systems is often covered by basic homeowners policies. Sudden and accidental water backup, such as from an outside sewer or drain, can also be added to your existing homeowners policy.
What does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance policies vary by insurer and by plan. It is always best to talk to your licensed insurance agent about what is covered and what is not.
Building/structure flood policies typically cover the structure, foundation, and systems of your home (including electrical and plumbing systems); many major appliances; some carpeting; some built-in cabinets and bookcases; and detached garages. These policies typically do not cover the “contents” of your home, including furniture, electronics, portable appliances, freezers and the food inside them, and certain valuables. You will need to purchase an additional contents coverage to protect those items.
Flood insurance does not cover damage caused by certain causes of flooding. For instance, damage caused by a sewer backup is only covered when it’s a direct result of natural flooding. Other damage not covered includes moisture, mildew, or mold that is deemed avoidable or which are not attributable to the flood. Paper valuables (including currency) and precious metals, outdoor property, temporary living expenses, and self-propelled vehicles are also not covered. However, your auto insurance may offer some protection, depending on your policy.
Ready to Learn More about Flood Insurance?
Did you know that only 20% of homes in the U.S. that are at risk of flood are covered by flood insurance? Don’t get caught off guard.
Your Beverly-Hanks REALTORⓇ can help you check the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System flood maps and connect you with a reputable insurance agent. Protect your home today.
All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about whether your home needs flood insurance, our experts at Beverly-Hanks are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent.