Getting the Right Flood Insurance

Posted March 11th, 2010
by Staff (no comments)

Hoboken 4/16/07: The flood and the fireChances are pretty good if you live in Arizona you don’t have to worry too much about flooding. You’re more in danger of wildfires than you are of a flood. Yet, for folks that do live in places where flooding is possible and common, it can be a real problem

Adding to the problem is that most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flooding. They might cover water damage to your home that occurs when a sump pump malfunctions, for example. They might even cover water damage when you have a leak in your roof. But flooding is an entirely different animal in the insurance world.

Fortunately, there’s the National Flood Insurance Program. This program is designed to provide flood insurance to people that need it, and who cannot get it through their homeowners insurance company.

The NFIP coverage covers both the building as well as the contents. It’s important to understand what falls into what category, as the rules for damage and reimbursement can vary greatly between them.

Building flood coverage includes things like the physical structure itself, as well as the foundation. It includes both plumbing and electrical systems in the home. It covers your central air conditioner, your furnace and your water heater. Certain major appliances, such as stoves used for cooking, refrigerators and even built-in dishwashers also are considered to be part of the building. Finally, carpet that’s installed permanently over an unfinished floor falls into this category, too.

Contents coverage includes some other things. It covers any portable appliances, such as window air conditioners, microwaves or portable dishwashers. It covers your clothes washing machine and your clothes dryer. Any carpet that isn’t covered by property coverage falls into contents coverage. Your basic possessions, such as clothing, electronics equipment and computers and furniture are all considered contents. Your curtains and other decorations are considered contents, as well.

So, the key is to purchase flood insurance enough to cover each of these two categories. In many cases, you can get flood insurance directly through your homeowners insurance plan by adding a rider to the plan that covers flooding.  Just be certain you understand what is and isn’t covered, and what falls into each coverage category.

Photo via David Pfeffer

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