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Is Flood Insurance Included in Homeowner’s Insurance?

By Luke Armstrong

Other than property fires, experiencing a flood can be one of the most stressful problems for home owners. All porous materials, including wood, drywall, and fabrics will quickly sustain permanent damage if they are not treated by a flood cleanup professional. In addition, your contents can also become ruined without treatment.

Although water damage restoration services are essential and will save money in replacement costs, they are not cheap. Thankfully, many insurance company policies will cover the damage restoration costs, depending on the owner’s policy. But unfortunately, flood insurance must be purchased in addition to the standard plan. Ultimately, to answer the question: is flood insurance included in homeowner’s insurance? No, it is not.

What is Included in Flood Insurance

Flooding is not covered in homeowner’s insurance

Flood insurance includes any type of severe water damage that occurs during or after extreme weather conditions. This can include anywhere from a few inches to a few feet of standing water. The following conditions are covered under flood insurance:

  • Hurricanes. For residents living along the coast line, they are no stranger to these powerful tropical storms, especially those living close to the Atlantic Ocean. These will include 155 mph winds and heavy rainfall that can cause significant storm damage in addition to the flooding. They can also trigger land and mudslides that can even occur hundreds of miles inland.
  • Floods. While many floods can happen within minutes, others will take longer to progress. Thankfully, it allows homeowners to prepare and possibly even prevent their home from becoming flooded. This can include heavy rains, rapid melting of snow, or the amount of underground water exceeding drainage systems and sewer pipes that are designed to transport the water away from the property.
  • Flash floods. These types of floods can be just as dangerous as hurricanes as they may contain rocks, sticks, and other debris while filling a property within minutes. It can even occur if a dam or levee was broken, creating a surge of rushing water into the community.

Homes and Buildings in Flood Zones

Those living near oceans, lakes, rivers, or other areas with extreme weather conditions are required to have flood insurance. One advantage is that these high-risk flood zones are still eligible for standard flood insurance rates. As long as the property owners do not mind dealing with the constant repairs and replacement of their building materials and contents, they can save a fortune by living in these risky areas.

Flash flooding is covered in flood insurance
Flash flooding is covered in flood insurance

However, the insurance premiums will vary greatly upon the following factors:

  • Location of contents (attic, basement, etc.)
  • Number of floors
  • Occupancy numbers
  • Age of property structure
  • Location of the lowest floor compared to the elevation requirement on the flood zone map
  • Preferred deductible amount

Homeowner’s Insurance Does NOT Cover Flooding

While many property owners will become outraged at the fact that their homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flooding, it is because the of the extreme costs associated with flood cleanup.

In addition to these costly services, many homes and buildings will experience flood damage at the same time (because they are located in the same area), multiplying the costs for these insurance agencies.

For the home owners who really want to think ahead, they can buy flood insurance. Just keep in mind that there is a waiting period of about a month for the coverage to be included to the insurance plan. This way, property owners will not be able to buy the insurance as soon as they see a storm warning in the news.

You should also be aware that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover sewer backups, but can be purchased as additional coverage.

Water Damage Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance

Additional insurance must be purchased to cover sewer backups
Additional insurance must be purchased to cover sewer backups

While traditional homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage or sewer backups, they can cover the costs of other water damage, including roof leaks, water-related appliance malfunctions, burst or leaking pipe, overflowing of drains, etc.

Typically, any significant damage that occurs within the home or building can still be covered by traditional insurance policies, making it important for property owners to invest in.

Flood Insurance Does Not Always Cover Everything

Even if home and building owners have purchased a flood insurance policy, this does not a get-out-of-jail free card; there is a limit to the amount that is covered in the event of this disaster.

According to the Natural Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), there is a ] $250,000 limit in property structure that can be recovered and $100,000 to clean and restore your personal belongings.

In addition, it will only include the actual cash value of the items the minute before they were damaged by the water. This means that they will not pay for brand new building materials, furnishings, or personal items because they were most likely not in that previous condition before the flood.

Excess Flood Insurance

For those who are extremely concerned about the costs associated with flooding, they can purchase excess flood insurance from private companies. These insurers will provide additional coverage for the high-risk homes that need extra protection or their community does not participate in the NFIP.

ServiceMaster is a nationally trusted company for flood cleanups, sewer backups, and water and fire damage restoration
ServiceMaster is a nationally trusted company for flood cleanups, sewer backups, and water and fire damage restoration

Excess flood insurance can also be purchased anywhere within the United States and will include the replacement cost for the structure and actual cash value for damaged or destroyed personal items. It can be bought through independent insurance agents or from traditional insurance companies with arrangements from a private insurer that also provides excess flood insurance to their clients.

Calling a Restoration Company

While many property owners will call their insurance company in the event of a natural disaster, it is a big mistake to assume that they will reach out to a professional flood cleanup company for you (they could, but why risk it?). In fact, it is best to call this disaster restoration company even before your insurance provider to prevent the damage from spreading even further. When doing this, you can save both time and money during the recovery process, two resources that your insurance provider will appreciate dearly.

When searching for a restoration provider, consider using your local ServiceMaster. This professional disaster restoration company has a nationwide recognition of being IICRC-certified, holding years of experience, and restoring building structure and personal contents to their original condition in a timely manner. Also specializing in fire damage restoration, they will arrive within 2 hours of your first call with advanced products and equipment to give you the peace of mind you deserve.