The list of things that can go wrong with your house could go on and on forever. You couldn’t possibly be expected to anticipate every possible scenario and plan ahead for each and every one of them. Thankfully, this is what home insurance is for: protecting you, your family, the structure of your home, and all the belongings inside of it from whatever comes your way. At least, that’s what it seems like on paper. As it turns out, though, many home insurance policies lack protection for some of the most disastrous scenarios imaginable — namely, flooding.
This might come as a surprise to many, which really highlights just how misinformed homeowners are about what their insurance does and does not cover. This is why it’s so important to discuss the ins and outs of flood insurance: Do you need it? And what does it cover in the first place? Let’s look at the facts to find out the answers to these crucial questions.
How Common Are Floods Anyway?
While you might think that you’re safe from flooding, the truth of the matter is that floods are, hands down, the most frequent and most wide-ranging of all the weather-related natural disasters. They can happen anywhere in the United States at any time, and they can cause significant damage to your home with even just a few inches of water. Whether it’s flooding from heavy rain, from melting snow, from ocean waves crashing ashore, or something as extreme as a broken dam or breached levee, flooding can sweep away entire neighborhoods in a matter of minutes or slowly encroach on a town over the course of many days or weeks.
What’s more, flooding can linger in an area for quite some time — especially if it continues to rain or snow continues to melt, driving water levels higher and higher. You might think that your state or your city is flood-proof, but the truth is that flooding has occurred in all 50 states and takes more lives annually than tornadoes and hurricanes alike. Simply put, floods are a lot more common than you think, making protection from them an absolute must-have.
Why Doesn’t Home Insurance Cover Flooding?
If floods are truly so common, then this begs the question: Why aren’t they covered by home insurance? The answer is this: In insurance speak, flooding is what’s known as a gradual event. Because flooding first touches the ground outside the home and then moves onto the home, insurance providers can feasibly argue against including it in home insurance policies because it originates outside of the home.
Of course, this differs from water damage, a similar-sounding but vastly different thing that originates in the home, whether it be leaky pipes causing damage over time, poorly repaired roofs, walls, or windows, or something as extreme as a tree smashing through the roof during a storm and water getting inside the house. As a result, these forms of flooding originate inside the house and not the ground and, as such, can be covered by home insurance policies.
Is Flood Insurance Required?
While we now know the truth about flooding and home insurance, it’s worth discussing scenarios where flood insurance might be a requirement. For instance, flood insurance is a requirement for anyone with a government-backed mortgage in an area at high risk for flooding. These high-risk areas range anywhere from parts of the eastern and southern coasts, parts of the upper midwest, and even areas surrounding the Smoky Mountains. In places like these, flood insurance is a federal requirement, which means that not getting flood insurance in this scenario could land you in a whole heap of trouble (especially if a flood happened to come along and cause serious damage).
Likewise, even if your home resides outside of high-risk areas, your mortgage lender still might require you to get flood insurance to receive the loan for your home. This makes sense because of what was discussed earlier, which is that any state in the U.S. is technically at risk for potential flooding.
How Much Is Flood Insurance?
The cost of flood insurance varies greatly depending on what state you’re in. For example, flood insurance is typically cheapest in Florida, while it tends to be the most expensive in Vermont. The average monthly or average cost will fluctuate across the United States and is determined by factors like risk of flooding, your home’s particular structure and age, and the amount or type of flood coverage being purchased. As we’ve seen, though, no cost is too much when you’re going to be insuring your home, your family, and your most prized possessions from the most commonly found weather-related disaster in the country.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Typically, flood insurance comes in a couple of different forms: flood insurance that protects your home’s structure and flood insurance that protects your home’s contents. Structurally, flood insurance protects all your electrical and plumbing, your built-in appliances, your heating and cooling system, your foundation, your cabinets, carpeting, and flooring, and other essentials in this general realm. For flood insurance that protects the contents of your home, policies typically cover personal belongings like clothes and jewelry and accessories, the washer and dryer, valuable possessions like artwork, and any appliance that isn’t fixed to the wall like a microwave or a window A/C unit.
Is There Anything Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
Conversely, there are some items not covered by flood insurance, no matter the size or the type of coverage purchased. This includes reimbursement of temporary housing or shelter while the home was flooded or during repairs, any personal property stored in the basement, any landscaping done outside the home, any damage done to external structures like decks, patios, or fences, and any cars or car parts damaged by the flooding. Additionally, any damage not directly caused by flooding — such as a sewer backup — might not be covered, either.
The Bottom Line: Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Clearly, flood insurance is a lot more important than you might have thought before. Not only this, but it turns out that it’s a requirement for many policyholders throughout the United States. Even though not everything in and around your house is covered by flood insurance, its importance cannot be overstated. Considering how damaging floods can be, it’s wise to consider adding flood insurance to your roster of coverage if you haven’t already.
If you need assistance finding the right flood insurance policy for you, consider visiting LemonBrew Insurance to match with a LemonBrew partner agent and receive a free quote. No matter what kind of coverage you’re looking for, LemonBrew is the place to turn for answers to any question you might have. LemonBrew partner agents have the experience and the know-how to help calm any worries and settle any hesitations you may have about adding a flood insurance policy. Contact LemonBrew today to learn more and receive your free quote.