Don’t learn the hard way that your home insurance doesn’t cover the damage a hurricane or flood causes. If you just moved to a hurricane-prone area then you need to research the types of insurance that cover damage if one affects your property. In 2019, 18 named storms hit the USA, from which six became hurricanes and three reached Category 3 or higher intensity. Statistics show that a typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, so chances are your house to experience damage every year. If you lack comprehensive coverage, you’ll find difficult to handle the repairs, even if you have a high-paid job. And what’s the point of spending thousands of dollars annually when you can buy the insurance and have all the damage covered.
Most of the homeowners located in hurricane-prone areas buy flood insurance because it offers the greatest benefits. Here is what you should know.
Why should you get flood insurance?
Even if the local authorities don’t establish flood insurance mandatory for homes in your area, you should consider getting it. The hurricanes that move slowly often cause rains that generate damage by flooding. So, not only aggressive hurricanes destroy houses.
If you have a mortgage on the house, the lender will ask you to purchase flood insurance when the property is located in a flood hazard area. Do you still have doubts? Here are some reasons to consider buying comprehensive coverage.
It saves you money
It’s wise to be prepared for natural disasters, no matter if you live in a flood-prone area or not. If one damages your house you can spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to repair it, if you lack insurance. FEMA states that 3 inches of floodwater can generate $8000 costs when you have no insurance. Only 3 inches of water require replacement of floors, carpets, furniture, baseboards, hardwood, and drywalls. It destroys everything that touches the floors.
An average storm or rain can cause 12 inches of water in a flood-prone area, so you’ll need to pay for more than floors and carpets, you need to repair the electrical system, buy new appliances, and install a new heating and cooling system. A serious flood can cost more than $30,000.
Your standard insurance doesn’t protect you from flood
It may be surprising to find out that regular insurance doesn’t cover for hurricanes and flood, but usually homeowner’s insurance only protects you against water pouring from the sky.
This means that your insurance doesn’t cover floodwaters and you need to purchase one created for this specific damage.
Floods are the most common natural disaster
It’s terrifying to find out that floods are the most common natural disaster because it’s pricey to repair the damages they create. Americans pay annually $8.2 million to fix flood damages. And the bad news is that flooding doesn’t come alone, it’s often accompanied by other forms of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, storms and earthquakes.
Buying a comprehensive policy protects your house not only from flooding but also if your neighbour overflows your house.
Where to find it?
You need to contact the local insurance brokers to find out their offers and compare services. Run an Internet search to identify the most reliable brokers from your area. You can also find an agent through the National Flood Insurance Program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance is available to all homeowners located in a hurricane-prone area.
You can also ask your neighbours to recommend an insurance provider they trust because they definitely have flood insurance in Florida if they live in the area for more than a year.
What flood insurance doesn’t cover
Each insurance provider offers different flood insurances, but most of them don’t include the following services in the flood policy.
Water from inside the house
To use the coverage to pay for flood damage the water must come from outside your home. If something breaks inside the house (a pipe for example) and it inundates one of the rooms, the flood coverage doesn’t pay for the repairs. You need to use the homeowner policy for these expenses.
It doesn’t cover landscaping and swimming pools
If your swimming pool breaks and drowns your property, you cannot use the insurance to repair the damage. And even if water outside your house destroys your property, the broker won’t reimburse for gardens, trees, and other landscaping elements.
It only covers big floods
Some companies cover only big floods that cover more than two acres or that affect at least two properties in the same area. Also, if your house experiences mould or mildew damage you could have prevented, it may not pay for the deterioration.
It doesn’t include money and important papers
Most policies don’t pay for the value of precious metals and stones, stock certificates, currency, and other valuable papers you may keep inside the house. It’s advisable to keep them in a safe place where natural disasters cannot destroy them.
It doesn’t pay for improvements made to below-ground areas
You may want to transform your basement in a man cave, but before doing it you should know that flood insurance doesn’t cover the improvements. When living in a hurricane-prone area it’s recommended to remove all personal property from the basement because water can inundate it. Store in the basement only items you can spare.
Buying home insurance
Before you purchase flood insurance, speak to your local broker to find out how much insurance you need and what it covers. Most companies have a waiting period before the policy is in force, so you shouldn’t wait until the first signs of a storm appear.
When your current provider doesn’t sell flood insurance you can buy a separate one from another one. But before contacting them, document all improvements you brought to your property. Last but not least, ask the broker what costs does the policy cover because the majority of them don’t pay all replacement costs. They usually focus on reimbursing your home’s structure and contents.