When people think about the costs associated with flooding, they typically think about cleaning up afterward, repairing damage, and replacing valuable items. However, one thing that often slips under the radar is flood insurance and whether it‘s worth the extra cost.
Let’s look at what you must know about homeowners insurance and flooding, what the experts say, and what you can do to mitigate costs.
Primary Causes of Floods
Although flooding from storms gets most of the press, the truth is there are various reasons why home flooding occurs, including:
Burst water pipes
Water heater failure
Failed appliances, like washing machines or dishwashers
Stream or river overflow
City water main line breaks
Hurricanes or flash floods
Regardless of the cause, flooding can cause considerable damage, including environmental damage, loss of life and property, and damage to the economy. Good town planning, government efforts, and homeowner precautions can mitigate some damage caused by flooding or reduce the severity, but not eliminate it.
Repairing the damage caused by a flood can cost a homeowner up to $70,000, depending on the damage.
Flooding & Flood Insurance
Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover the flooding caused by extreme weather like hurricanes, Nor-Easters, spring thaws, or any flooding from outside the home. So, unless you purchase additional coverage, you must pay out of pocket for the damage and cleanup resulting from a home flood. If you’re concerned about a flood, you can check with your local insurance provider or find one that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
One of the problems with flood insurance is that people think that because they don’t live in a “high-risk” area for flooding, they don’t need extra coverage. However, according to FEMA,
Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S., with 98% of the counties in the country has experienced a flood at some point.
Data also suggests that a homeowner is more likely to experience a flood over the next 30 years than a house fire and that 43% of homeowners believe their homeowner’s policy covers flooding when, in fact, it doesn’t.
We’re seeing an increase in extreme weather episodes due to the changing climate, and flooding is happening in areas that were once considered low or moderate risk.
So, what does the insurance industry say about flood insurance?
It May Be Required
If you live in an area designated high-risk for flooding, you may be required by your mortgage lender to carry flood insurance, which is purchased separately from your typical homeowner’s policy. Most homeowners’ insurance covers flood damage caused by burst pipes or failed appliances, but not acts of nature.
If your home is located in a high-risk area, your insurance company usually requires an elevation certificate (EC) which shows your home’s elevation relative to how high floodwaters typically get. With this information, your insurance company will assess the risk, which could impact your premium.
The National Flood Insurance Program Can Help
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It enables homeowners, businesses, and renters in participating communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance in communities that have adopted and enforced a floodplain management ordinance.
According to benefits.gov,
Federal flood insurance is available to residents and business owners in high-risk and moderate to low-risk areas. It is available community-wide, with premiums that vary according to the level of risk.
Depending on where you live, you may not be able to get flood insurance from your local provider, so the NFIP is an excellent option to consider.
It’s Worth Getting Even If You’re Not in a Flood Zone
As mentioned, floods happen for various reasons, and just because you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone doesn’t mean you’re immune to flooding. We’ve seen homeowners who thought they were out of the danger zone become devastated when a disaster struck. The NFIP says that approximately 40% of its claims come from areas outside those designated high-risk.
The good news about flood insurance is that it’s usually much cheaper if you don’t live in a high-risk area. Because a foot of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, purchasing flood insurance will seem like a bargain.
If you’re one of those who like to live on the edge, you may be tempted to forego purchasing flood insurance now, thinking you can always add it later if a major storm is approaching. However, most flood insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period before you’re covered, so it’s best not to tempt fate.
Don’t Depend on Disaster Assistance Many people would rather not pay the higher premiums to get flood insurance, thinking they can rely on disaster assistance to bail them out after a significant flood, but this doesn’t always work. According to floodsmart.gov,
Disaster assistance is only available after a presidential disaster declaration and typically comes in the form of a loan that must be repaid with interest. You may be entitled to individual assistance, but usually, only basics like food, water, and housing are covered.
How Installing EnduraFlood™ Wall Panels Can Protect Your Home
While there’s little you can do to stop Mother Nature or predict the next city water main break, you can invest in methods that can make it easier to bear a flooded basement. Flood insurance goes a long way to helping you mitigate the loss, but as additional protection, consider installing EnduraFlood Flood-Proof Basement Wall Panels in your finished basement or any other room where flooding is a concern.
EnduraFlood replaces the several feet of drywall from the floor up — the drywall you’d remove and replace after a flood. Our wall paneling system is made from cement and can withstand full submersion for as long as it takes to pump out the water.
Protection With Style & Convenience
The EnduraFlood wall panels aren’t dull or utilitarian looking; quite the opposite. Our panels are fashioned after traditional wainscoting that complements virtually any decor and instantly makes your home appear more valuable. EnduraFlood panels are cut to size and designed to be reused again and again thanks to the snap-in fittings, which allow you to quickly remove the panels to allow areas behind to dry and reinstall them.
EnduraFlood panels cut down the cleanup time after a flood by not having to remove and replace the soaked drywall, which is messy and a pain in the butt.
Like flood insurance, it’s best not to wait until after a flood to invest in home protection.