What Is Flood Insurance?
- Insurance coverage to protect your dwelling
- In the event of a flood (natural disaster)
- While many assume flooding is covered by homeowners insurance
- This is unfortunately not the case
Flood insurance provides protection to homeowners, renters, and business owners against floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rain and other conditions that impact areas throughout the United States.
I don’t live in a high risk flood zone. Do I still need flood insurance?
While it might not be required, it is still largely recommended that you have flood insurance. A good percentage of flood claims (something like 20%) come from non high-risk areas. As previously discussed, this insurance is relatively cheap to begin with, so it’s in your best interest to get it.
Does my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding?
Absolutely not! As discussed on the is flood insurance mandatory page, this is the most common misconception related to homeowners insurance. If you do not specifically have a flood insurance policy, you are out of luck if your home floods.
Can I get flood insurance if I live in a high-risk flood area?
Yes, as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Mortgage lenders will not lend money on a home in a high risk flood area unless there is proof of flood insurance. The term the lenders use is “flood cert,” short for flood certification.
Does the government cover the bill since floods are typically referred to as “disasters”?
No, the area where your home is located must be formally declared a “disaster area.” This occurs less than 50% of the time (You have better odds of winning at roulette). Note that the government merely loans you money to repair your home…they don’t just write you a check! You will have to pay interest on that loan, which may cost more than paying for flood insurance yourself.
Can I get flood insurance if I live in an apartment, condominium, or own commercial property?
Yes, flood insurance is available for any type of structure. The available limits are higher on commercial structures. Remember, if you live in an apartment, the landlord doesn’t insure your property against damage. Even if you have renters insurance, it doesn’t cover flood damage.
Can I get flood insurance at the last minute before a flood occurs or when a flood is occurring?
Yes…and no. You can purchase flood insurance at any time, but there is a hitch. There is a 30-day waiting period, and you cannot get the insurance to cover a loss while it’s taking place, meaning if the flooding starts before 12:01am on the day your policy goes into effect, you’re out of luck. There are two exceptions to this rule:
1. If your home has been re-zoned as a flood area within 13 months of purchasing your new flood insurance policy, you don’t have to wait the 30 days.
2. If you get your policy as part of a mortgage loan on your home, you’ll be covered without waiting the 30 days as well.
Can I get flood coverage for my basement?
Yes, any floor below ground level can be insured. The policy will basically cover appliances and the structure. If you have a finished basement however, the walls and other “finishing” such as personal property will not be covered.
See the link above for a very detailed explanation of coverage.
Can I buy flood insurance if my home has been flooded before?
Yes, as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Do I have to buy my flood insurance directly from the Federal Government?
Nope. You can purchase flood insurance the same way you purchased your home, life, car, and health insurance. The Fed has partnered with multiple insurance carriers to provide the service to us. Basically, the government pays the claims and the regular insurance company services the policy.
Does flood insurance cover me against hurricanes, tidal overflows, or overflowing rivers?
Yes, this is exactly the purpose. It covers a range of reasons water may pool. It’s worth noting that at least two acres must be covered by water before it’s considered a flood.
Am I covered by flood insurance if my house floods as a result of a hole in the roof or broken windows?
No, it’s not. This type of claim does not constitute a “flood” by definition. This would be covered by your homeowners insurance, assuming you chose that particular coverage when purchasing your policy (it’s not automatically included).
For the record, there is typically a separate deductible for wind driven rain in a homeowner’s policy.
In Texas for example, this is the most common type of homeowners insurance claim, so you may see a higher deductible for wind driven rain than anything else. Make sure to ask what the reimbursement limit is for this type of claim.
Fact: Nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.