Flood Insurance – HomeownersInsurance.org http://www.homeownersinsurance.org Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Do I Need Hazard Insurance? http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/do-i-need-hazard-insurance/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/do-i-need-hazard-insurance/#respond Wed, 13 Oct 2010 21:29:46 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1079

A typical homeowners insurance policy won’t necessarily cover all the different events that could cause damage to your property. While most policies cover fire, wind, and severe storm damage, certain areas are more prone to different kinds of natural disasters, and the more likely the damage from a specific type of event, the less likely it is that your homeowners insurance policy will cover it.

  • Know your exclusions. Most policies come with certain exclusions, meaning the policy won’t pay out for certain things. Many insurers are now excluding dog bites, for instance, because of the rise in both the number and expense of dog bite claims. But your insurer may exclude other types of damage based on the risk. If the risk is very high in your area, chances are the damage will not be covered.
  • Know the area. If you’ve lived in the area all your life, you probably already know what risks there are. Midwestern homeowners experience a higher likelihood of tornadoes, while Floridians are at risk of hurricane damage. Homes in California often need earthquake insurance, but houses in other areas could also be at risk. If you are new to the area, ask your neighbors about their homeowners insurance policies to get a feel for what is usually covered. This can also be a great way to find a good insurance company.
  • Hazard insurance is not liability coverage. While homeowners insurance typically covers both property damage and liability for accidents, hazard insurance does not. Instead, it covers property damage that results from specific events such as fire, wind, storm, or other natural disasters, depending on what is specified in the policy.
  • Be sure to ask. Your insurance sales agent is your best bet for determining what is covered by your policy and what is not. You can also review your policy to see what is and is not covered.
  • Flood zones. If you live in an area at high risk of flooding, your lender is required by law to force you to buy flood insurance. Areas that are at elevated risk for other disasters or weather events may not have the same rules. If your policy excludes damage from wind or severe storms, you should look into buying hazard insurance that covers it.

The best way to be sure you are covered in the event of vandalism, fire, flood, earthquake, or windstorm is to review your policy. If there are exclusions for any of these types of events, you probably can (and should) look for hazard insurance separately.

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Oil and Water http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/oil-and-water/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/oil-and-water/#respond Wed, 16 Jun 2010 19:14:34 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=542 For those who live along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, the potential for losing a home due to hurricanes is just a part of life. While some find out too late, more and more people understand these days that you need both homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance to protect yourself from the multi-faceted damage these horrific storms can produce.

Recent developments with the tragic BP oil spill have led to a host of interesting new questions amongst Gulf Coast homeowners. Many want to know what our insurance policies will cover. We also want to know who is responsible for the rest. Is BP liable? Do we simply lose out if our homes and property are damaged by oil? A hurricane or tropical storm blowing oil inland is a very real possibility, threatening residents not only on the beach, but throughout the coastal area.

Let’s take a look at what would happen and who would be liable if a Gulf storm caused damage to our homes or property by blowing oil ashore:

  • In most cases, our insurance companies would pay for any structural damage caused by the storm, except for damage caused by flooding. This does not necessarily include damage caused by pollutants such as oil.
  • Flood insurance would cover any damage caused to the home because of flooding. It appears that this would likely include damage caused by any oil that was in the water while the area was flooded, but this has not been clearly defined, and FEMA has not yet made a definitive statement on the issue. Additionally, only structural damage would be covered in most cases. The yard, gardens, etc. are uncovered.
  • In the case of the current BP oil disaster, BP may be responsible for covering damages to your home or lawn, should they be damaged by oil from the spill. However, the process of establishing claims can be time consuming. Make sure that all damage is well documented before you begin any cleanup proceedings, so you will have proof of damages should you need it later.

For those living on the Gulf Coast, especially the areas that are being hardest hit with this disaster, it might be a good idea to contact your agent now, before a hurricane rolls in, to see what we are (and aren’t) covered for. The last thing we want is to face the aftermath of a disaster and find out that our homeowner’s insurance didn’t cover everything we thought it did.

Photo via faceless b

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Getting the Right Flood Insurance http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/getting-the-right-flood-insurance/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/getting-the-right-flood-insurance/#respond Thu, 11 Mar 2010 16:27:07 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=250 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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