What Is Flood Insurance

The standard homeowners’ insurance covers some damage from rain, but if your home is filled with water as a result of rising bodies of lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans, you are in big trouble.

The most common flood insurance is through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and it provides two options.

You can choose to purchase either, or both, of the following:

Coverage to your actual home up to $250,000
Coverage for your personal property up to $100,000

You also have the option of excess flood coverage if your building property value is higher than $250,000.

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Am I Required To Have Flood Insurance?

Congress has mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.

Coverage to your home includes:

The cost to rebuild, or
The actual value of your home
Window blinds
Debris removal
Electrical and plumbing systems
Kitchen appliances (refrigerator, stove, built-ins)
HVAC equipment (air conditioning, furnaces, water heaters)
Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
Permanently installed paneling, bookcases, and cabinets
Detached garages (limited to 10% of your home policy)

personal property includes:

Window AC units
Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
Portable microwaves and dishwashers
Carpets not covered by your building policy
Your freezer and frozen food
Up to $2,500 in valuables, such as art and furs

what isn't covered?

Items that belong in a bank or safe deposit box
Precious metals
Stock certificates
Bearer bonds
Septic systems
Hot tubs
Swimming pools
Boat houses
Retaining walls
Storm shelters
Temporary housing and other living expenses
Loss of income
Post-flood mold damage
Sewer backups

There’s a Limit to How Often You Can Collect

If you make four or more flood claims for more than $5,000 each, or two claims that, added together, cost more than your home, NFIP will “offer” you a grant to make your home less vulnerable to floods. If you refuse to take the grant money and make the improvements, your policy payments will probably increase substantially.

If a Flood Severely Damages Your Home

NFIP may give you $30,000 to use to raise, tear down, or move your home. That $30,000 gets added on to any other claim NFIP pays you. But the total still can’t go above $250,000.