For many home owners, flood insurance is dismissed as unnecessary. They believe they do not need insurance for floods because they already have home insurance. If a storm hits, these home owners believe that their home insurance company will cover all the damage even without a flood insurance policy.
This is not correct. In floodplain areas designated by the U.S. government, home insurance excludes damage due to flooding. The reason is that the U.S. government has set standards for flood insurance to ensure that policies and premiums are consistent and reduce the burden on insurers and underwriters in the event of catastrophic flooding.
Here are four events that are not covered by home insurance, but rather insurance for floods:
Florida experiences tropical storms, tropical depressions, and hurricanes regularly. While wind damage is covered by home insurance, storm surge is not.
Storm surge is a rapid rise in water levels along coastlines caused by strong winds. Storm surges push water levels above the expected tide line and can cause flooding and water damage to structures near the shore.
If your home sustains damage during a storm, home insurance is only responsible for non-flood damage. Thus, a home insurance claim for roof damage due to wind may be paid, but a claim for water damage to carpets due to storm surge may be denied. Insurance for floods, however, does cover water damage from storm surge.
When slow rolling rain storms move in, your home may be safe from storm surge. However, nearby lakes and rivers may overflow their banks, flooding yards, roads, and your home.
Home insurance does not cover water damage from overflowing lakes and rivers. Rather, flood insurance is needed to cover any damage when rain causes lakes and rivers to flood your home.
Heavy rain can saturate your yard, flood your home, and even trigger mudslides. Damage caused by rainwater and mudslides are not covered by home insurance. It may seem like a strange line to draw, but home insurance in floodplains only covers water damage due to internal sources of water, such as a broken water pipe. This means that damage from water and mudslides caused by external sources, like rain water, are only covered if you have flood insurance.
The movement of flood water through the ground causes instability in the soil that can cause ground collapse and subsidence. Even if your home is spared water damage during a flood, the flood may literally cause the ground to shift under your home. Ground collapse and subsidence due to flooding can damage your home’s foundation, floors, and walls. Damage caused by ground collapse or subsidence resulting from floods is not covered by home insurance, but only by flood insurance.
Home insurance is essential to protecting your most valuable asset. However, to be fully covered against catastrophic loss, flood insurance can protect against damage caused by floods.