Flood Insurance




Your homeowners policy doesn't cover damage from flooding, and you can't simply purchase flood insurance as an endorsement to your policy like you might expect. Instead, you must purchase a separate flood insurance policy through an insurance company that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the private insurance industry. A flood insurance policy can offer you protection for both the building and its contents. You are eligible to purchase flood insurance if your community is one of the approximately 19,000 nationwide that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The participating communities must adopt certain floodplain management practices in exchange for the availability of flood insurance for their residents.

Do you need flood insurance?
You should consider purchasing flood insurance even if you don't live in a high-risk area for floods. According to FEMA, approximately 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from areas that are at low to moderate risk for floods. Even if you don't live near the ocean, a river, or other body of water, factors such as storms, melting snow, inadequate or overloaded drains, or hurricanes can cause serious flooding. As long as your community participates in the NFIP, flood insurance is an option worthy of consideration. If you are buying a home located in a high-risk flood zone, you are required to purchase flood insurance as a precondition for obtaining a federally-backed mortgage.

How do you purchase flood insurance?
If you decide you want or need flood insurance, the perfect place to start is by asking your homeowners insurance agent for assistance. They may be able to write a flood insurance policy for you. Buying homeowners insurance and flood insurance policies through the same company may have advantages. If we can't offer you flood insurance, you can call the NFIP Telephone Response Center at 1-888-CALL FLOOD, extension 445.

How much flood insurance can you get?
A flood insurance policy offers flood protection for both your home and its contents. You can purchase up to $250,000 worth of coverage for the building itself, and up to $100,000 worth of coverage for the contents. However, a flood insurance policy is not a catchall. For example, it offers some degree of protection for flood-related basement damage, but doesn't cover all types of damage (sewer backups, for instance, would not be covered unless directly related to a flood).

How much does flood insurance cost?
Flood insurance costs vary widely, depending upon your location. However, if you live in a lower-risk area, you can typically reduce the premium by purchasing a lesser amount of coverage.

What else should you know about flood insurance?
You should be familiar with several miscellaneous facts about flood insurance. First, you can purchase flood insurance most any time if you live in a participating community (except when flood is imminent--i.e., an impending hurricane). You generally have a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective. Second, you can purchase flood insurance even if you live in a high-risk region for floods. As long as your community participates in the NFIP, insurance companies will be able to offer you a policy. Third, flood insurance policies don't cover flooding from wind-driven rain or damage from hail. Your homeowners policy will likely cover these situations.

Finally, flood insurance offers some protection for flood-related basement damage, but doesn't cover all types of damage. It ordinarily covers items like furnaces, hot water heaters, foundation elements, stairways, and oil or natural gas tanks, as well as appliances such as clothes washers and dryers, and freezers. It doesn't cover basement structures such as finished walls, floors, ceilings, or personal belongings like furniture or clothes. Your homeowners policy doesn't cover basement flooding, period. So, although flood insurance doesn't cover every situation, it's your best bet for dealing with basement flooding expenses.

Learn More...

Overview | Understanding The Basics | Types Of Insurance | Coverage Amounts
Choosing A Policy | Filing A Claim | Other Types Of Insurance | Home Safety Tips
Planning Concerns | Home Glossary

Please Note: The information contained in this Web site is provided solely as a source of general  information and resource.  It is a not a statement of contract and coverage may not apply in all areas or circumstances.  For a complete description of coverages, always read the insurance policy, including all endorsements.