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Do I need flood insurance?

Did you know that one out of every four homeowners endures a flood over the life of their 30-year mortgage? Even if you don’t live in what is considered a “high-risk” area for flooding, there are a number of everyday occurrences that can cause flooding in and around your home. Water mains burst, drainage systems become overrun, a heavy snowfall melts faster than a neighborhood can bare; these are all common causes of damaging flood conditions.

In fact, according to, floods are the number 1 most frequently occurring natural disaster in the United States.

This is why it may be a good idea to obtain flood insurance, even if you don’t live in a flood zone or ever expect to need to use it. The fact of the matter is you’d rather have a flood insurance policy and be thankful to never need it than be caught off guard during a flood with no insurance to cover your home and the possessions inside your home.

Floods are much more damaging than most people realize, as we’ve all seen recently in the mid-west. A flood will destroy your flooring, drywall, furniture, appliances, electronics, and all of your possessions. Even worse, a flood can leave the structural integrity of the home itself in grave danger, making the home inhabitable, and putting everyone and everything in your home at risk.

There are a number of ways you can protect yourself against a flood:

  • Ensure your front and back yards are graded properly and slant away from your home, naturally carrying water away from the structure. In addition to any drainage systems you may have installed, this basic but vital landscaping principle is key in preventing flood damage.
  • Install a battery-powered sump pump and test it on an annual basis to determine its effectiveness. The sump pump will help protect you against basement flooding, which is where most flooding begins in a home. However, these pumps can be easy to forget about, so remembering to check and maintain the pump is just as important as having one at all.
  • Regularly check your gutters, drains and downspouts for debris. These devices are meant to help flow water out of and away from your home, but if your gutters and downspouts are full or clogged, your home can experience flood damage from even a normal heavy rainfall.

Doesn’t my homeowners policy cover flooding?

These precautions and protections can only do so much, and at the end of the day Mother Nature may still be victorious. There are several of differences between simple water damage and flood damage, and it’s important to know what may be covered by your homeowners policy and what isn’t.

Most homeowners may think that all water damage is covered by their homeowners insurance policy. But this is not the case. To fully protect your property from floods, you must buy a flood insurance policy, from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This policy will protect a homeowner against any and all flood damage in the face of disaster.

The NFIP defines a flood as “an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry.” This means that if water touches the ground before it enters your home, it is considered a flood. A heavy rainfall that cannot be soaked up fast enough by soil and enters your home is considered a flood; so can a nearby river, or a drainage ditch or sewer system overflowing its banks.

It is important to distinguish between flood damage and water damage when making a claim in order to receive the best assistance from your insurance provider.

When a pipe freezes and then bursts, a heavy rainfall enters your home through a leak in your roof, your water heater spontaneously breaks down and floods the basement, or your sewer backs up inside the house, these are all considered water damage and not flood damage. Flood insurance will not cover these damages, although your homeowners policy likely will, depending on the specifics of the policy.

For more information about what water damage is covered by your homeowners insurance and whether you are vulnerable to flooding and need flood insurance, talk to the insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group. They will review your current homeowners policy and make sure that your home and property are fully protected.

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