When anyone owns a home, it’s reasonable to conclude they have homeowners’ insurance coverage. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover some forms of “weather damage,” but many residents don’t realize that their general policy may leave gaps in coverage until its too late, leaving them vulnerable to floods, hurricane, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
Depending on a homeowners’ geographic location, they may need to purchase additional types of insurance to supplement their general insurance policy, especially if they’re in a high-risk area.
No types of flood damage are covered by standard homeowners’ policies, no matter the source of the flooding. The only type of water damage that a homeowners’ policy covers are in the event of damaged or leaking interior pipes, but even that has exclusions. According to a poll from the Insurance Information Institute, only 12 percent of U.S. homeowners have flood insurance, yet data provided by FEMA suggests that all 50 states have experienced flooding in the past five years.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) does allow homeowners in flood-prone areas to purchase flood insurance through private insurance backed by the federal government. Congress enacted the NFIP in 1968, as a response to an increased amount of damages caused by flooding and the rising cost of taxpayer-funded relief for flood victims. The NFIP is mostly self-supporting, meaning that on an average rain year and barring a widespread disaster, all operating expenses and claim payments are financed through the premiums collected.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Depending on the type of flood insurance purchased—property coverage, personal contents coverage, or both—flood insurance offers a wide range of protection.
Property coverage will typically include the actual structure of your home including the foundation; plumbing and electrical; central air and heating; and any type of attached furnishings such as cabinets, built-in shelves, and paneling. It may also include a detached garage, though other detached buildings will require their own policy.
Personal Contents Coverage
Personal contents coverage includes washers, dryers, and clothing; furniture that is not attached to the structure, electronics; drapery; some portable appliances; portable or window air conditioners; freezers and the foods within them (but not refrigerators); and some types of valuables like furs or artwork.
Things that not covered by any flooding insurance are directly related to the flooding or that could have been mitigated by the owner like damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold. Flooding insurance also does not cover temporary housing for residents dealing with flood damage. More specific information about what an NFIP policy covers and doesn’t cover can be found on this FEMA fact sheet.
Wind and Hail Insurance
Some states require homeowners’ policies to include hurricane coverage, which protects homeowners against any hurricane-related wind and rain damage. However, if the storm is under a certain wind speed, or the damage is only cosmetic, the homeowners’ policy may not cover it.
Some homeowners may also find out the hard way when a windstorm damages the home allowing rain to cause water damage, their homes are not covered by their flood policy. Such cases are why homeowners should consider a wind and hail insurance policy in addition to their homeowners’ insurance.
There is a lot to take into consideration when determining the what types of coverage to supplement a homeowner’s’ insurance policy with, but identifying risks, examining basic coverage, and determining the homeowner’s needs will help agents make the best decisions possible.
About The Insurance Store
The Insurance Store was created to bring ease and agility to Surplus Lines coverage placement for agents serving commercial and personal lines clients in specific regions throughout the country. We provide a wide variety of packages for hard-to-place products and risks that include earthquakes, floods, hail, and more. To learn more about how we can protect you in the event of an unforeseen event, contact us today at (425) 313-9605.