For the past fifty years, almost every state has received its own share of flooding, it’s just that some are more devastating than others. It doesn’t matter whether you live near a body of water or not, at some point, it may just happen and you are not in control. Most of the flooding that takes place is a result of heavy rain or the melting of snow from mountains that are miles away from our environment that causes rising water leading to flooding.
Flooding is the leading natural disaster in the United States and is causing a lot of damages every year. Based on a report released by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), flooding that occurred from 2008-2012 cost the average person about $42,000. In 2014 the average insurance claim was $10,456-$42,275. Let us share some important things that every citizen of this country should know when it comes to flooding and insurance.
NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) is responsible for identifying flood hazard areas. These areas are referred to as SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Areas), these areas have one percent chance occurrence of flooding each year, and it’s also called the base flood or 100-year flood.
Since these areas are at high risk of flooding even lenders require that homeowner living in such areas should be covered by their insurance company. While areas that are at low risk of flooding, insurance isn’t necessarily needed.
Flood Insurance – What Does It Cover
An ideal insurance policy should cover the building structures and the content that’s inside, but the land where the building is located isn’t covered. There are also some limits to this coverage such as crawlspaces, basements or elevated buildings with enclosed floors.
The coverage provided for buildings is up to $250,000, for the content of a building it’s $100,000, this is for personal properties only. The NFIP suggests that individuals choose these 2 types of policies because home insurance doesn’t cover flood damages. If you’re looking for more coverage there are other options which are better, but they come with different deductibles and premiums.
What Is Covered For Building Damages?
- The entire structure and the foundation.
- Plumbing and electrical systems.
- Major systems such as furnaces, air conditioning equipment, and water heater.
- Appliances like cooking stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers.
- Window Blinds.
- Wallboard, cabinets, and bookcases.
- Electronic equipment, furniture, and clothing.
- Portable air conditioners.
- Portable appliances like dishwashers and microwaves.
- Carpeting that’s not included in the building coverage.
- Washers and dryers.
- Food freezers and the food content inside.
- Any other item that cost no more than $2500 like original artwork.
What Isn’t Included?
Even with flood insurance, not everything is covered, there are a number of damages that will be left out, and it is advised to talk to your company to see what’s covered and what is not covered. Here are some things that are not included;
- Important papers such as stock certificates, precious metals, and currencies.
- Damages caused by mold, mildew or moisture and should have been prevented by the property owner.
- Items outside the building like plants, trees, walkways, septic systems, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, patios, decks, and swimming pools.
- Financial losses that arise from business interruption.
- Self-propelled vehicles like cars, four wheelers, and motorcycles.
Most of the time before flooding occurs there are warning signs, so this means there are some steps which should be taken in order to minimize damages especially if it’s a flash flood. Let’s take a look at some of these important steps.
- Inspect everything; inside and outside.
- Make sure that your gutters are not blocked by debris.
- Drain any water that’s in the low lying areas, this is to ensure that water is away from foundations and basements.
- Check all your important items like electronics, furniture, and photos to find the ones that are vulnerable to damages during flooding. You should come up with protective measures that can help prevent the property from getting damaged.
Insurance Claim Preparation
- Make sure that you have safely secured the insurance coverage paperwork and you fully understand what’s covered and what’s not.
- Ask the insurance agent to state insurance coverage in simple terms.
- When there is damage, record everything that needs replacement like a laptop, phone, medication or purse.
And lastly, before acquiring insurance or making an insurance claim, you should consult an attorney that understands how the system works. We know that dealing with insurance companies can be tricky, but with the right attorney, things are going to be a lot easier for you. Give us a call now at Massey & Duffy for a free consultation.