Floods can happen anywhere, not just in places where there is a well-documented history of flooding. Due to the unpredictability of weather, every homeowner and business owner should have some kind of flood insurance in CA. According to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in the country. Here’s a look at the importance of having the right coverage in place before a disaster strikes.
What Is Flood Insurance and How Does It Work?
Since homeowners standard insurance policies don’t cover flooding, you need to add flood insurance to your standard policy. It will cover your home and personal belongings in the event a flood damages your home. The policy will list specific types of damage that are covered, which may have been caused by one of several different types of flooding, such as one caused by a storm. However, flooding due to your own negligence, such as forgetting to shut off the water, is not covered.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Every insurance agency designs its own policies based on climate change risks, flooding history, and specific location, so it’s best to discuss your needs with an experienced insurance agent regarding flood insurance in CA. Here are some of the many items this specialized insurance covers:
- Replacement of your home and foundation if destroyed by a flood
- New electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
- Replacement of built-in appliances such as ovens, freezers, and dishwashers
- New carpeting, furniture, window blinds and curtains, and other personal belongings
- Debris removal
Flood insurance encompasses building coverage and contents coverage. While building coverage financially protects your foundation and various systems, contents coverage pays for damage to items within the structure, such as desks and computers. Keep in mind not all damage caused by water is considered flood damage by insurance agencies. For example, leaks that result from clogged pipes are not covered.
NFIP defines flooding as a “temporary overflow of water on normally dry land” caused by natural disasters such as severe storms, earthquakes and hurricanes, so anything outside of that scope may not be covered.
What Isn’t Covered under Flood Insurance?
Like all insurance policies, flood insurance has its coverage limits in terms of providing money to repair or replace damaged property. It won’t cover certain types of natural damage caused by exposure to moisture, such as mold and mildew. Since this type of damage can be prevented with proactive maintenance, it’s not covered by flood insurance. It also doesn’t cover damage to vehicles, landscaping, patios, fences, or swimming pools. Each of those items typically requires other special insurance.
What Are the Types of Flood Insurance?
It’s important to understand that there are different types of flood insurance that pertain to different disasters. Here’s a look at the most general types of flood coverage that can be added to a standard homeowners policy to ensure protection.
- Private flood insurance – Insurance that comes from a commercial entity that isn’t funded by the government is considered private insurance. It can be applied to flood coverage and is usually more comprehensive than a government-funded policy.
- Hurricane insurance – Don’t assume your standard homeowners policy covers extreme disasters like hurricanes, even if you live in a region with a historical pattern of such disasters. Certain water damage isn’t covered, such as burst pipes. Damage caused by wind can be before or after a hurricane. In many cases, damage caused by the initial impact of the hurricane is covered, but not damage that occurs afterward.
- National Flood Insurance Program – Homeowners who reside in areas where flood risk is known can apply for coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program. This coverage is available to homeowners, who can get building coverage limits up to $250,000 along with contents coverage of $100,000. Purchasing a FEMA policy requires going through a regular insurance company.
Why Should You Buy Flood Insurance in CA?
The reason why it’s essential to buy flood insurance in CA or anywhere else is that flooding is usually unpredictable. Flood warnings often come when it’s too late for a community to evacuate, as any given city can lose billions of dollars in flood damage. Imagine losing thousands of dollars in damage with the wrong type of coverage in place because you assumed you were covered for any natural disaster.
Find out from your agent exactly which of your possessions are or aren’t currently covered in worst-case scenarios. Keep in mind that earthquake insurance is separate from flooding insurance. Still, it might cover certain water damage that a flood policy doesn’t cover.
You won’t have to pay much more for flood insurance, as policies start around $25 per month. Talking with your insurance agent or a FEMA official can help you understand how much flooding risk you face in your current location. Getting the right coverage is based on your needs and the specific belongings you want to insure.
The combination of securing appropriate insurance and taking proactive steps to protect your belongings gives you the best results. Evaluate your home’s elevation and decide if you need to make home adjustments or relocate. If you have a basement, make sure you understand how it can be impacted by flooding disasters and what type of coverage will protect its value.
Protect yourself and your tenants by learning more about your homeowners insurance options. Contact us at John E. Peakes Insurance Agency to learn more about the different types of coverage we offer for homeowners and businesses. Preparing yourself with the proper flood insurance will allow you to sleep better at night, knowing you’ll have shelter no matter how severe the weather gets.